The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Strand Magazine, Volume VII, Issue 41,
May, 1894, by Various

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Title: The Strand Magazine, Volume VII, Issue 41, May, 1894
       An Illustrated Monthly

Author: Various

Editor: George Newnes

Release Date: November 17, 2014 [EBook #47376]

Language: English

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Produced by Richard Tonsing, Jonathan Ingram and the Online
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The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

An Illustrated Monthly


Vol VII., Issue 41.
May, 1894

Antonio's Englishman
Zig-zags at the Zoo
Stories From the Diary of a Doctor.
From Behind the Speaker's Chair.
A Bohemian Artists' Club.
Portraits of Celebrities at Different Times of their Lives.
The Oxford and Cambridge Union Societies.
Illustrated Interviews.
Martin Hewitt, Investigator.
Löie Fuller—The Inventor of the Serpentine Dance.
The Three Gold Hairs of Old Vsevede
The Queer Side of Things.
Transcriber's Notes

[Pg 450]


(See page 456.)

[Pg 451]


Antonio was young, handsome, and a gondolier. He lacked but two things; a gondola of his own, and an Englishman. He was too poor to buy a gondola, and though he occasionally hired an old and extremely dilapidated one, and trusted to his handsome face to enable him to capture a party of foreign ladies, his profits had to be divided with the owner of the gondola, and were thus painfully small. The traghetto brought him in a few francs per month, and he picked up other small sums by serving as second oar, whenever tourists could be convinced that a second oar was necessary. Still, Antonio was desperately poor, and he and his young wife were often uncomfortably hungry.

Now, if the Madonna would only send him an Englishman, even if it were only for a single year, Antonio could easily save enough money to buy himself a beautiful gondola, besides living in the lap of luxury. His brother Spiro had owned an Englishman for only seven months and a half, and already he was a capitalist, with his own gondola, and, figure it to yourself!—with four hundred francs in the savings bank! And Spiro had done nothing to deserve this blessing, for he was notoriously an unbeliever, and never went inside a church except when he was escorting English ladies, when, of course, he prayed with fervour at the most conspicuous shrine, which was worth at least ten extra soldi of buona mano. Whereas, Antonio was deeply religious, and at least once a year gave a wax candle to the Blessed Virgin of Santa Maria Zobenigo. "But patience!" said Antonio daily to himself. "Some day the Madonna will grow weary, and will say, 'Give that Antonio an Englishman, so that I can have a little peace and quiet.' And then the Englishman will appear, and Antonio's fortune will be made."

Of course Antonio knew of every foreigner who came to Venice with the intention of making a prolonged stay. There is no detective police in the world that can be compared with the Venetian gondolier in learning the ways and purposes of tourists. To know all about the foreigner is at once his business and his capital. The Englishman who comes to Venice and determines to spend six months or a year in that enchanted city, may reach this decision on a Saturday night and mention it to no living soul. Yet by the following Monday morning all the gondoliers in Venice know that there is an Englishman to be striven for, and they have even settled in their own minds precisely what apartment he will probably hire. How they arrive at this knowledge it is not for me to say. There are mysteries in the Venice of to-day, as there were in the Venice of the Ten and of the Three.

Now, it fell out that one day Antonio learned that an Englishman and his wife, a young couple, who had every appearance of sweet temper and scant knowledge of the world, had arrived at the Albergo Luna, and had told the porter that they intended to take a house and live forever in Venice. The porter was an intimate friend of Antonio, and had been promised a handsome commission on any foreigner whom he might place in Antonio's hands. Within an hour after receiving the precious information, Antonio had put on his best shirt, had said ten Aves at lightning speed, had promised the Blessed[Pg 452] Virgin two half-pound wax candles in case he should land this desirable Englishman, and was back again at the Luna and waiting to waylay his prey.


The porter presented Antonio, and asserted that, as a combination of professional skill and moral beauty, Antonio was simply unique. Mr. Mildmay, the Englishman in question, was pleased with Antonio's clean shirt, and Mrs. Mildmay was captivated by his chestnut curls, and the frank, innocent expression of the young fellow's face. He was hired on the spot, with the new gondola which he professed to own, for 150 francs per month, including his board. He was to bring his gondola and his recommendations to the hotel to be inspected that afternoon, and was to begin his duties on the following day, the Mildmays having already secured an apartment in advance of their arrival in Venice.

The long-hoped-for fortune had arrived at last. "He is a man of excellent heart, the paron," said Antonio to the porter. "He will be as wax in my hands: already I love him and the sweet parona. You shall have your share of him, my Zuane. No one can say that I am not a just man."

Antonio hurried at once from the hotel with a note from the porter to a dealer in gondolas, certifying that the bearer had secured a most eligible Englishman. He had to pay a heavy price for the hire by the month of a nearly new gondola, but the payments were to form part of the purchase-money, and Antonio did not grudge the price. Then he stopped at his house to show the new gondola to his wife, and tell her the blessed news, and then, armed with his baptismal certificate, and an old letter from a notary, informing him that the funeral expenses of his father must be paid or serious consequences would follow, he returned to the hotel.

The Mildmays were satisfied with the gondola, and with Antonio's recommendations; for they could not read Italian handwriting, and when Antonio informed them that the notary's letter was a certificate that he was the most honest man in Venice, and that it had been given him by a German Prince whom he had served ten years, they were not in a position to contradict the assertion. Moreover, they were already half in love with the handsome and happy face of their gondolier, and would have taken him without any recommendation at all, sooner than have taken an old and ugly gondolier with the recommendation of the British Consul and the resident chaplain. The next day Antonio entered upon his duties, and began the joyous task of making hay[Pg 453] while the sun of the Englishman shone on him.


The gondolier in private service in Venice does many things wholly unconnected with his boat. He usually waits on his master's table; he polishes the concrete floors, and he is sent on every variety of errand. Antonio was tireless, respectful, and cheerful, and the Mildmays agreed that he was an ideal servant. Of course they responded to his suggestion that he needed a livery, and he was soon furnished at their expense with a handsome suit of heavy blue cloth, a picturesque hat, a silk sash, and an overcoat. He looked very handsome in his new dress, and the difference between what he paid the tailor and what he charged his master provided his wife and his little boy with their entire wardrobe for the coming winter.

Venice is a cold city after the winter fogs begin, and when Antonio advised the Mildmays to lay in their entire stock of firewood in September instead of waiting until the price should be higher, they said to one another what a comfort it was to have a servant who really looked after their interests. So Antonio was commissioned to buy the wood, and he bought it. He made a handsome commission on the transaction, and, in addition, he had about one-fifth of the whole amount of wood delivered at his own residence. It is true that this was not quite enough to provide him fuel for the entire winter, but the deficiency could easily be remedied by simply carrying home three or four sticks under his coat every night, and Antonio was not a man who shrank from any honest labour when the good of his family was in view.

About ten days after the arrival of his Englishman, Antonio informed him that the gondola needed to go to the squero to have its bottom cleaned, at a cost of ten francs. This, however, he insisted upon paying out of his own pocket, because the foulness of the bottom had been incurred before he entered Mr. Mildmay's service. This scrupulous display of honesty still further convinced the Englishman that he had the pearl of gondoliers, and when the next day Antonio asked him to give him as a loan, to be deducted from his future wages, fifty francs, wherewith to make certain essential but wholly unintelligible repairs to the gondola, Mr. Mildmay was of his wife's opinion that it would be a shame to require the poor man ever to repay it.

The first thing that shook the Mildmays' confidence in Antonio was a little incident in connection with a chicken. They had had a pair of roast fowls for dinner and had eaten only one, intending to have the other served cold for luncheon the next day. When late in the evening Mrs. Mildmay accidentally discovered Antonio in the act of going out of the house with the cold fowl stuffed under his coat, she demanded an explanation. "It is true, parona," said Antonio, "that I took the fowl. And why? Because all the evening I had seen you and the paron sitting together in such love and happiness that my heart bled for poor Antonio, who has no happy fireside at which to sit. And so I said to myself, 'Antonio! surely you deserve a[Pg 454] little happiness as well as these good and noble people! Take the cold fowl, and eat it with love and gratitude in your heart!'"


Mrs. Mildmay could not scold him after this defence, and she simply contented herself with telling him that he might keep the fowl for this time, but that such a method of equalizing the benefits of fortune must not occur again. Antonio promised both her and himself that it should not, and though he continued to keep his wife's table fully supplied from that of the Mildmays, the latter never again found him in possession of surreptitious chickens.

One day Antonio found a gold piece, twenty francs in fact, on the floor of his gondola. He knew it must have been dropped by the paron, and he promptly brought it to him. "How wrong I was," said Mrs. Mildmay, "to doubt the poor fellow because of that affair of the chicken. No one would ever have been the wiser if he had kept that twenty-franc piece, but he brought it to us like an honest man." For once she was right in believing Antonio to be honest. Nothing could have induced him to sully his soul and hands by unlawfully detaining his master's money. He was determined to make all the money out of his providential Englishman that he could make in ways that every gondolier knows to be perfectly legitimate, but he was no thief, and Mr. Mildmay could fearlessly have trusted him with all the money in his purse.

Antonio was now one of the happiest men in Venice, but one morning he came to Mr. Mildmay with a face of pathetic sadness, and asked for a day's holiday. "It is not for pleasure that I ask it," he said; "my only pleasure is to serve the best of masters. But my little boy is dead, and is to be buried to-day. I should like to go with the coffin to San Michele."

Mr. Mildmay was unspeakably touched by the man's sorrow and the quiet heroism with which he bore it. He gave him the day's holiday and fifty francs towards the funeral expenses of his child. When Antonio appeared in the morning, quiet, sad, but scrupulously anxious to do his whole duty, the Mildmays felt that they really loved the silent and stricken man.

Misfortune seemed suddenly to have run amuck at Antonio. A week after the death of his child, he announced in his usual quiet way that his wife was dead. It was very sudden, so he said. He did not know exactly what was the disease, but he thought it was rheumatism. The Mildmays thought it strange that rheumatism should have carried off a woman only twenty-two years old, but strange things happen in Venice, and the climate is unquestionably damp. Antonio only asked for half a holiday to attend the funeral, and he added that unless the paron could advance him two hundred francs of his wages, he should be unable to save his wife from being buried in the common ditch. Of course, this could never be permitted, and Antonio received the two hundred francs, and Mrs. Mildmay told her husband that if he should think of deducting it from the unhappy man's wages, she could never respect him again.

For a time the darts of death spared the household of Antonio. The gondola made its alleged monthly visit to the squero to have its bottom cleaned at Mr. Mildmay's expense, and the amount of repairs and paint which[Pg 455] it needed did seem unexpectedly large. But Antonio was not foolishly grasping. So long as he doubled his wages by tradesmen's commissions, and by little devices connected with the keeping of the gondola, he felt that he was combining thrift with prudence. He made, however, one serious mistake, of which he afterwards repented when it was too late. Instead of giving the Madonna the two wax candles which he had promised her, he gave her two stearine candles, trusting that she would not notice the difference. It was not in keeping with his honest and religious character, and there were times when the recollection of it made him feel uneasy.

As the winter wore on Antonio's devotion to his employers never slackened. Beyond the commissions which it is but just and right that the faithful gondolier should exact from those dogs of tradesmen, even if they did charge the same commissions in his master's bills, he was tireless in protecting the Mildmays from imposition. He was never too tired to do anything that he was asked to do, and although, when his brother Spiro was temporarily out of employment, Antonio discovered that there was nearly always too much wind to render it safe to take the gondola out with a single oarsman, and that he would therefore furnish a second oarsman in the person of Spiro at his master's expense, he never intimated that he was not ready to row hour after hour while the Mildmays explored the city and the lagoon. Mr. Mildmay was fascinated by the narrow Venetian streets, and spent hours exploring alone every part of the city. He was probably perfectly safe in so doing, for highway robbery and crimes of violence are almost unknown in Venice; but for all that he was always, though without his knowledge, accompanied on his walking excursions by the stealthy and unsuspected Antonio, who kept out of sight, but in readiness to come to his assistance should the necessity arise.

Toward spring Antonio thought it best to have his wife's mother die, but to his surprise Mr. Mildmay did not offer to pay the old lady's funeral expenses. He drew the line at mothers-in-law, and Antonio received only his half-holiday to accompany the corpse to the cemetery. This miscarriage made Antonio think more than ever of that failure to keep his promise to the Madonna in the matter of the wax candles, and he sometimes wondered if she were capable of carrying her resentment so far as to take his Englishman from him.


There is gas in Venice, but the judicious householder does not use it, save when he desires to enshroud his rooms in a twilight gloom. If he wishes a light strong enough to read by, he burns petroleum. It was, of course, Antonio who supplied the petroleum to the Mildmay household, and equally of course, he bought the poorest quality and charged for the dearest. Now, in spite of all the care which a timid person may lavish on a lamp burning cheap petroleum, it is nearly certain sooner or later to accomplish its mission of setting somebody or something on fire, and Antonio's petroleum, which was rather more explosive than gunpowder, unaccountably spared the inmates of the casa Mildmay until late in the month of March, when it suddenly asserted itself.

It happened in this way. One evening Mrs. Mildmay took a lamp in her hand, and started to cross the wide and slippery floor of her drawing-room. The rug on which[Pg 456] she trod moved under her, and she came near falling. In the effort to save herself she dropped the lamp. It broke, and in an instant she was in a blaze.

Antonio was in the ante-room. The door was open and he saw the accident. He sprang to Mrs. Mildmay's assistance. He did not attempt to avoid the flames, but rushed directly through the pool of blazing oil, burning his feet and ankles horribly. He seized Mrs. Mildmay, and tore away her dress with his bare hands. He had nothing to wrap around her, for he was wearing no coat at the time, but he clasped her close in his arms, and smothered the flames that had caught her petticoat by pressing her against his bosom. She escaped with nothing worse than a slightly burned finger, but Antonio's hands, arms, feet and ankles were burned to the bone. By this time Mr. Mildmay, who had been in his study, heard his wife calling for help, and made his appearance.

Antonio asked the parona's permission to sit down for a moment, and then fainted away. The cook was called and sent for the doctor. She met Antonio's brother in the calle, close to the house, and sent him upstairs. With his help Antonio was carried to Mrs. Mildmay's bedroom, and laid on the bed, and before the doctor came the wounded man had regained consciousness, and had thanked the Mildmays for their care of him.

The doctor, after dressing the wounds, said that the man might very probably recover. But Antonio announced that he was about to die, on hearing which decision the doctor changed his mind.

"When a Venetian of the lower class gives up, and says he is going to die," said the doctor, "no medical science can save him. Your man will die before morning, if he has really lost all hope. There! he says he wants a priest; you might as well order his coffin at once. I can do nothing to save him."

"Paron," said Antonio, presently, "would you, in your great goodness, permit my wife to come to see me for the last time?"

"You shall have anything you want, my brave fellow," replied Mr. Mildmay, "but I thought your wife was dead."

"I was mistaken about it," said Antonio. "It was her twin sister who died, and they were so much alike that their own mother could not tell them apart. No, my poor wife is still alive. May she bring my little boy with her?"

"Tell her to bring anybody you may want to see," replied his master, "but I certainly thought your little boy was buried last January."

"The paron is mistaken, if he will pardon me for saying so. It was my little girl who died. Was it not so, Spiro?"

Spiro confirmed Antonio's statement, like a loyal brother who is afraid of no fraternal lie, and Mr. Mildmay had not the heart to trouble the sufferer with any more suggested doubts of his veracity.

Antonio was duly confessed, and received absolution. "Did you tell the father about the candles?" whispered Spiro after the priest had gone.

"I thought," answered Antonio, "that perhaps the Madonna had not yet noticed that they were not wax, and that it would not be wise to tell her of it, just as one is going where she is."

In the early morning Antonio died. His family, and Mr. and Mrs. Mildmay, were at his bedside. He died bravely, with the smile of an innocent little child on his face. "I have served the dear paron faithfully," he said, just as he died. "I know he will take care of my wife and child. And he will take Spiro as his gondolier."

Mr. Mildmay religiously carried out Antonio's dying request. He installed Spiro in the place of the dead man, and he settled an annuity on Zanze, the disconsolate widow. He gave Antonio a grave all to himself in San Michele, and a beautiful white marble tombstone, with the epitaph, "Brave, Faithful, and Honest." He came to know somewhat later how Antonio had enriched himself at his expense, but he said to his wife: "After all, my dear, Antonio was strictly honest according to his own code. I think I have known some Englishmen of unblemished reputation, whose honesty, according to the English code, could not be compared with that of the poor boy who gave his life for yours."

W. L. Alden.

[Pg 457]


By Arthur Morrison and J A Shepherd


Whence has arisen the notion that monkeys are happy creatures? Probably from the inadequate fact that they pull one another's tails and run away. But a being may be mischievous without being happy. Many mischievous boys are never happy: possibly because the laws of Nature won't permit of half the mischief they are anxious to accomplish. Still, the monkey, at any rate in a state of freedom, is looked upon as a typically happy creature. "And watch the gay monkey on high," says[Pg 458] Bret Harte; and Mr. Kipling addresses the monkey as "a gleesome, fleasome thou," which latter looks like an attempt to make an admissible adjective pass in an unwarranted brother. I have seen monkeys fleasome, treesome, freesome, keysome (opposite adjectives these, you will perceive on reflection), and disagreesome, but cannot call to mind one that looked in the least gleesome. Everything that runs up a fence or swings on a rope is not necessarily jolly, much as the action would appear to justify the belief. Many a human creature has stormed a fence with a lively desire to attain the dogless side, but no noticeable amount of jollity; and a man escaping from fire by a rope wastes no time in unseasonable hilarity, dangle he never so quaintly. Look at their faces; look also at the monkey's face. If a monkey grin, it is with rage; his more ordinary expression of countenance is one of melancholy reflection—of sad anxiety. His most waggish tricks are performed with an air of hopeless dejection. Now, this may be due to any one of three causes, or even to a mixture of them. It may be that, like the boy, he dolorously reflects that, after all, mischief has its limits; that you cannot, so to speak, snatch the wig of the man in the moon, upset the Milky Way, or pull the tail of the Great Bear. Or it may be that a constant life of practical jokes, and of watchfulness to avert them, is a wearying and a saddening thing after all. Or it may be that every ape, meditating on his latest iniquity, tries for ever to look as though it were the other monkey.


With many people, to speak of the Zoo monkeys is to speak of Sally. Poor Sally! Who would not weep for Sally? For Sally is dead and hath not left her peer. A perversion of Milton is excusable in the circumstances. Why is there no memorial of Sally? "Is the spot marked with no colossal bust?" as they say on invitations to bachelor small-hour revels. There should, at least, be a memorial inscription to Sally.

Sally, when first she came here in 1883, was a modest and, indeed, rather a shy chimpanzee. A few years of elementary education, however, quite changed Sally's character, for she learnt to count up to five, and to be rather impudent. Wonderfully uniform are the results of elementary education.


The chimpanzees, orang-outangs, and such near relatives of humanity are kept, when they are alive to keep, in the sloths' house. Such as are there chiefly occupy their time in dying. It seems to be the only really serious pursuit they ever take to. Sudden death is so popular among them,[Pg 459] that it is quite impossible to know how many are there at any particular time without having them all under the eye at the moment. A favourite "sell" among them is for a chimpanzee or orang to become a little educated and interesting, then wait till some regular visitor invites all his friends to inspect the phenomenon, and die just before they arrive at the door. This appears to be considered a most amusing practical joke by the dead monkey, and is much persevered in.


Sally was a black-faced chimpanzee. The white-faced kind is more common, and in the days of its extreme youth much more like a stage Irishman, except that his black hair gives him the appearance of wearing dress trousers very much frayed at the ankles.



The orang-outang is less intellectual as a rule than the chimpanzee; but he has a deceptive appearance of brain-pan—an illusory height of forehead—that earns undeserved respect. Many a man has conducted a successful business with credit on the strength of a reputation as easily earned. With the orang as with the chimpanzee, it is in infancy that he presents the most decently human appearance. But even then he is a low, blackguard sort of baby—worse than the precocious baby of the Bab Ballad could possibly have been. He should have a pipe for a feeding-bottle and a betting-book to learn his letters from. These anthropoid apes come with such suddenness and die with such uncertainty that I cannot say whether there are any in the Zoo now or not—I haven't been there since yesterday. But wanderoos there are, I feel safe in saying, and Gibbons. The wanderoo is a pretty monkey, and usually gentle. He has a grave, learned, and reverend aspect as viewed from the front, and this is doubtless why, in India, his is supposed to be a higher caste, respected and feared by other monkeys. That same wig, however, that looks so venerable in the forefront view, is but a slatternly tangle in profile, like unto the chevelure of a dowdy kitchenmaid. But a wanderoo, well taught, and of good-temper, is as clean and quaint a pet as you may desire, and as delicate as the poet's gazelle, with its incurable habit of dying. The same may be said of the Gibbon. In this climate he Declines and Falls[Pg 460] on the smallest excuse, although, perhaps, not quite so readily as the chimpanzee, who may almost be said to Decline and Fall professionally, like Mr. Wegg.


The Diana monkey, too, makes a pleasant pet, and is not so confirmed a dier as some. The Diana monkey here is over in the large monkey-house, in the middle of the Gardens. Her name is Jessie, and her beard is most venerable and patriarchal. But just outside the eastern door of the big house, John, the Tcheli monkey, occupies his separate mansion. John is a notable and a choleric character. He dislikes being made the object of vulgar curiosity, and is apt to repel an inspection of his premises with a handful of sawdust. Any unflattering remark on his personal appearance will provoke a wild dance about his cage and a threatening spar through the wires. But once threaten him with a policeman—do as much as mention the word, in fact—and John becomes a furious Bedlamite, with the activity of a cracker and the intentions of dynamite. Against floor, walls, ceiling, and wires he bounces incontinent, flinging sawdust and language that Professor Garner would probably translate with hyphens and asterisks. John is the most easily provoked monkey I know, and the quaintest in his rage. He is also the hardiest monkey in the world, being capable of enjoying a temperature of ten degrees below zero; but there is a suitable penalty provided in the by-laws for any person so lost to decency as to suggest that this Tcheli monkey is a very Tcheli monkey indeed. For John's benefit I would suggest an extra heap of sawdust on Bank Holidays. On an occasion of that sort it is little less than cruelty to keep him short of ammunition.



Of the big monkey-house, who remembers more than a nightmare of tails, paws, and chatterings? Here are monkeys with beards, monkeys with none, big monkeys, little monkeys, monkeys with blue faces, monkeys who would appear to have escaped into the grounds at some time and to have sat on freshly painted seats; all thieving from visitors and each other,[Pg 461] pulling tails, swinging, turning somersaults, with faces expressive of unutterable dolor and weariness of the world. The wizen, careworn face of the average monkey appeals to me as does that of the elderly and rheumatic circus-clown, when his paint has washed off. The monkey, I am convinced, is as sick of his regulation jokes as is the clown of his. But he has a comic reputation to keep up, and he does it, though every mechanical joke is a weariness and a sorrow to the flesh. "There is somebody's tail hanging from a perch," reflects the monkey, looking lugubriously across the cage. "I am a joker, and several human creatures are looking at me, and preparing to laugh; consequently, I must pull that tail, though I would prefer to stay where I am, especially as it belongs to a big monkey, who will do something unpleasant if he catches me." And with an inward groan he executes the time-honoured joke and bolts for his life. It is a sad affliction to be born a wag by virtue of species. There is one monkey here who for some weeks displayed a most astonishing reluctance to snatch things through the wires, and a total disinclination to assist or share in the thefts of his friends by "passing on" or dividing. For some time I supposed him to be a moral monkey strayed from a Sunday-school book, and afflicted with an uncomfortable virtue. But afterwards I found that his conscientiousness was wholly due to his having recently grabbed a cigar by the hot end, and imbibed thereby a suspicion of the temperature of everything. Beware especially, in this house, of the paws of Marie, the Barbary ape. She has a long reach, and quickness enough to catch a bullet shot Poole-fashion—softly. Only Jungbluth, her keeper, can venture on familiarities, and him she takes by the eyebrows, gently stroking and smoothing them.



Behind the large room Jungbluth keeps sick monkeys, delicate monkeys, tiny monkeys, and curious monkeys, who have no room outside. Here is a beautiful moustache monkey, segregated because of a slight cold, and at liberty to train his moustache without interference, if only it would grow sufficiently long. Watch the light fur under the chin of a moustache monkey; it is tinted with a delicate cobalt blue, a colour that would seem impossible, except in feathers.


But the little marmosets and the Pinche monkey, all in a cage together, are chiefly interesting here. The[Pg 462] Pinche monkey is badly afflicted with nerves, and, as he is undisputed chief of the community, the marmosets have to be careful how they sneeze, or cough, or blink, or his indignation may be aroused. So that the whole performance in this cage is a sort of eccentric knockabout act, by the celebrated Marmosetti Eccentric Quartette. Marmoset No. 1 ventures on a gentle twitter, and the rest join in the song. Promptly the irritated Pinche bounds from his inmost lair, and the songsters are scattered. Everybody doesn't know, by-the-bye, that the marmoset is consumed with an eternal ambition to be a singing bird, and practises his notes with hopeless perseverance. Another thing that many seem to be ignorant of, even some who keep marmosets as pets, is that a marmoset's chief food should consist of insects. In a state of freedom he also eats small birds; but for a pet, cockroaches and bluebottles will probably be found, as a dietary, preferable in some respects to humming-birds and canaries.






Among the sick in this place is a spider monkey. Mind, I say he is there. To-morrow, or in five minutes, he will probably be somewhere else, for that is the nature of a monkey. Sickening, recovering, dying, snatching, jumping, tail-pulling, bonnet-despoiling, everything a monkey does is done in a hurry. This particular spider monkey has two or three names, as Jerry, Tops, and Billy, whereunto he answers[Pg 463] indifferently; but I prefer to call him Coincidence, because of his long arms, and he answers as well to that name as to another. He came in here because of a severe attack of horizontal bar in the stomach. I have never seen a monkey fall, and, for that reason, wish I had seen the attack, as a curiosity. For, by some accident, unparalleled in monkey history, Coincidence managed to miss his hold, and fell on his digestive department across a perch. He is a long, thread-papery sort of monkey, and it took a little time to convince him that he wasn't broken in half. When at last he understood that there was still only one of him, he set himself to such a doleful groaning and rubbing and turning up of the eyes, that Jungbluth put him on the sick list at once. But it took a very few hours to make him forget his troubles; and, indeed, I have some suspicion that the whole thing was a dodge to secure a comfortable holiday in hospital. That certainly is the opinion of Coincidence's friend, the Negro monkey, as his face will tell you, if you but ask him the question. It may interest those who already know that Coincidence has a long arm, to know also that he has but four fingers to each hand and no thumb; it is a part of his system. His tail is another part of his system, and you mustn't touch it. There is no more affable and friendly monkey alive than Coincidence, although he is a little timid; but once touch his tail (it is long, like everything else belonging to Coincidence), and you lose his friendship for ever. He instantly complains to Jungbluth, and points you out unmistakably for expulsion.





It is this house that witnesses most excitement on Bank Holidays. Who would be a monkey in a cage set in the midst of a Bank Holiday crowd? I wouldn't, certainly, if there were a respectable situation available as a slug in some distant flower pot, or a lobster at the bottom of the sea. Is a monkey[Pg 464] morally responsible for anything he may do under the provocation of a Bank Holiday crowd? Is he not rather justified in the possession of all the bonnets and ostrich feathers he can grab by way of solatium? Bank Holiday is the dies iræ of these monkeys, and then is Professor Garner avenged. The Professor shut himself in an aluminium cage, and the cage littered about Africa for some time, an object of interest to independent monkeys—a sort of free freak show. Here the monkeys, secure in their cage, study the exterior freaks, collecting specimens of their plumage, whiskers, spectacles, and back hair. But it is hard work—and savage.


It takes even a cageful of monkeys a few days to recover from a Bank Holiday, and for those few days trade is slack indeed. At such times it is possible to observe the singular natural phenomenon of a monkey in a state of comparative rest. But he is more doleful than ever.


[Pg 465]

Stories From the Diary of a Doctor.

By the Authors of "The Medicine Lady."


On a certain evening in the winter of the year before last, I was sent for in a hurry to see a young man at a private hotel in the vicinity of Harley Street. I found my patient to be suffering from a violent attack of delirium tremens. He was very ill, and for a day or two his life was in danger. I engaged good nurses to attend him, and sat up with him myself for the greater part of two nights. The terrible malady took a favourable turn, the well-known painful symptoms abated. I persevered with the usual remedies to insure sleep, and saw that he was given plenty of nourishment, and about a week after his seizure Tollemache was fairly convalescent. I went to visit him one evening before he left his room. He was seated in a great armchair before the fire, his pipe was near him on the mantelpiece, and a number of Harper's Magazine lay open, and face downwards, on a table by his side. He had not yet parted with his nurse, but the man left the room when I appeared.

"I wish you'd give me the pleasure of your company for half an hour or so," said Tollemache, in a wistful sort of voice.

I found I could spare the time, and sat down willingly in a chair at the side of the hearth. He looked at me with a faint dawning of pleasure in his sunken eyes.

"What can I order for you?" he asked. "Brandy-and-soda and cigars? I'll join you in a weed, if you like."

I declined either to smoke or drink, and tried to draw the young man into a light conversation.

As I did so, finding my efforts, I must confess, but poorly responded to, I watched my patient closely. Hitherto he had merely been my patient. My mission had been to drag him back by cart-ropes if necessary from the edge of the valley of death. He was now completely out of danger, and although indulgence in the vice to which he was addicted would undoubtedly cause a repetition of the attack, there was at present nothing to render me medically anxious about him. For the first time, therefore, I gave Wilfred Tollemache the critical attention which it was my wont to bestow on those who were to be my friends.

He was not more than twenty-three or twenty-four years of age—a big, rather bony fellow, loosely built. He had heavy brows, his eyes were deeply set, his lips were a little tremulous and wanting in firmness, his skin was flabby. He had a very sweet and pleasant smile, however, and notwithstanding the weakness caused by his terrible infirmity, I saw at once that there were enough good points in him to make it worth any man's while to try to set him on his legs once more.

I drew the conversation round to his personal history, and found that he was willing enough to confide in me.

He was an American by birth, but had spent so much time in Europe, and in England in particular, that no very strong traces of his nationality were apparent in his bearing and manner. He was an only son, and had unlimited wealth at his command.

"How old are you?" I asked.

"Twenty-three, my last birthday."

"In short," I said, rising as I spoke, standing before the hearth, and looking down at him, "no man has brighter prospects than you—you have youth, money, and I doubt not, from the build of your head, an abundant supply of brains. In short, you can do anything you like with your life."

He gave a hollow sort of laugh, and poking the ashes out of his pipe, prepared to fill it again.

"I wouldn't talk cant, if I were you," he said.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, that sort of speech of yours would befit a parson."

"Pardon me," I rejoined, "I but express the sentiments of any man who values moral worth, and looks upon life as a great responsibility to be accounted for."

He fidgeted uneasily in his chair. He was in no mood for any further advice, and I prepared to leave him.

"You will be well enough to go out to-morrow," I said, as I bade him good-bye.

He scarcely replied to me. I saw that he was in the depths of that depression which generally follows attacks like his. I said a word or two to the nurse at leaving, and went away.

It seemed unlikely that I should see much more of Tollemache; he would be well in a few days and able to go where he pleased;[Pg 466] one more visit would probably be the last I should be obliged to make to him. He evidently did not respond to my overtures in the direction of moral suasion, and, much occupied with other matters, I had almost passed him from my mind. Two days after that evening, however, I received a short note from him; it ran as follows:—

"Will you come and see me as a friend? I'm like a bear with a sore head, but I promise not to be uncivil.

"Yours sincerely,

"Wilfred Tollemache."

I sent a reply by my man to say that I would have much pleasure in visiting him about nine o'clock that evening. I arrived at Mercer's Hotel at the hour named. Tollemache received me in a private sitting-room. Bottles containing wines and liqueurs were on the table. There was a box of cigars and pipes.


"You have not begun that again?" I could not help saying, glancing significantly at the spirits as I spoke.

"No," he said, with a grim sort of smile, "I have no craving at present—if I had, I should indulge. These refreshments are at your service. At present I drink nothing stronger or more harmful than soda-water."

"That is right," I said, heartily. Then I seated myself in a chair and lit a cigar, while Tollemache filled a pipe.

"It is very good of you to give up some of your valuable time to a worthless chap like me," he said.

There was a strange mingling of gratitude and despair in the words which aroused my sympathy.

"It was good of you to send for me," I rejoined. "Frankly, I take an interest in you, but I thought I had scared you the other night. Well, I promise not to transgress again."

"But I want you to transgress again," said Tollemache. "The fact is, I have sent for you to-night to give you my confidence. You know the condition you found me in?"

I nodded.

"I was in a bad way, wasn't I?"

"Very bad."

"Near death—eh?"


"The next attack will prove fatal most likely?"

"Most likely."

Tollemache applied a match to his pipe—he leant back in his chair and inhaled the narcotic deeply—a thin curl of blue smoke ascended into the air. He suddenly removed the pipe from his mouth.

"Twenty-three years of age," he said, aloud, "the only son of a millionaire—a dipsomaniac! Craving comes on about every three to four months. Have had delirium tremens twice—doctor says third attack will kill. A gloomy prospect mine, eh, Halifax?"

"You must not sentimentalize over it," I said; "you have got to face it and trample on the enemy. No man of twenty-three with a frame like yours and a brain like yours need be conquered by a vice."

"You know nothing about it," he[Pg 467] responded, roughly. "When it comes on me it has the strength of a demon. It shakes my life to the foundations. My strength goes. I am like Samson shorn of his locks."

"There is not the least doubt," I replied, "that the next time the attack comes on, you will have to make a desperate fight to conquer it. You must be helped from outside, for the fearful craving for drink which men like you possess is a form of disease, and is closely allied to insanity. How often do you say the craving seizes you?"

"From three to four times a year—in the intervals I don't care if I never touch a drop of strong drink."

"You ought never to touch wine, or strong drink of any kind; your frame does not need it, and with your peculiar bias it only acts as fuel to the hidden fire."

"You want me to be a teetotaler?" responded Tollemache. "I never will. I'll take no obligatory vow. Fifty vows would not keep me from rushing over the precipice when the demon is on me."

"I don't want you to take a vow against drink," I said, "as you say you would break it when the attack comes on. But if you are willing to fight the thing next time, I wish to say that all the medical skill I possess is at your service. I have a spare room in my house. Will you be my guest shortly before the time comes? You are warned of its approach, surely, by certain symptoms?"

"Yes, I have bad dreams; I am restless and nervous; I am consumed by thirst. These are but the preliminary symptoms. The full passion, as a rule, wakens up suddenly, and I am, in short, as a man possessed."

Tollemache looked deeply excited as he spoke. He had forgotten his pipe, which lay on the table near. Now he sprang to his feet.

"Halifax," he said; "I am the wretched victim of a demon—I often wish that I were dead!"


"You must fight the thing next time," I said. "It will be an awful struggle, I don't pretend to deny that; but I believe that you and I together will be a match for the enemy."

"It's awfully good of you to take me up—'pon my word it is."

"Well, is it a bargain?" I said.

"If you'll have it so."

"You must consider yourself my patient," I continued, "and obey me implicitly from this moment. It is most important that in the intervals of the attacks your health should be built up. I should recommend you to go to Switzerland, to take a sea voyage, or to do anything else which will completely brace the system. You should also cultivate your intellectual qualities, by really arduous study for a couple of hours daily."

"The thing I like best is music."

"Very well, study the theory of music. Don't weaken yourself over the sentimental parts. If you are really musical, and have taken it up as a pastime, work at the drudgery part for the next couple of months as if your bread depended on it. This exercise will put your brain into a healthy condition, and help to banish morbid thoughts. Then you must take plenty of exercise. If you go to Switzerland, you must do all the walking and the tobogganing which the weather will permit. If you go into the country, you must ride for so many hours daily. In short, it is your duty to get your body into training condition in order to fight your deadly enemy with any chance of success."

I spoke purposely in a light, matter-of-fact tone, and saw to my satisfaction that Tollemache was impressed by my words—he seemed interested, a shadow of hope flitted across his face, and his view of his own position was undoubtedly more healthy.

[Pg 468]

"Above all things, cultivate faith in your own self," I continued.

"No man had ever a stronger reason for wishing to conquer the foe," he said, suddenly. "Let me show you this."

He took a morocco case out of his pocket, opened it, and put it into my hand. It contained, as I expected, the photograph of a girl. She was dark-eyed, young, with a bright, expectant, noble type of face.

"She is waiting for me in New York," he said. "I won't tell you her name. I have not dared to look at the face for weeks and weeks. She has promised to marry me when I have abstained for a year. I am not worthy of her. I shall never win her. Give me the case." He shut it up without glancing once at the picture, and replaced it in his breast pocket.

"Now you know everything," he said.


Soon afterwards I left him.

Tollemache obeyed my directions. The very next evening a note in his handwriting was given to me. It contained the simple information that he was off to Switzerland by the night mail, and would not be back in England for a couple of months.

I did not forget him during his absence. His face, with its curious mingling of weakness and power, of pathetic soul-longings and strong animalism, often rose before me.

One evening towards the end of March I was in my consulting-room looking up some notes when Tollemache was announced. He came in, looking fresh and bronzed. There was brightness in his eyes and a healthy firmness round his lips. He held himself erect. He certainly was a very fine-looking young fellow.

"Well," he said, "here I am—I promised to come back, and I have kept my word. Are you ready for me?"

"Quite ready, as a friend," I replied, giving him a hearty shake of the hand; "but surely you don't need me as a doctor? Why, my dear fellow, you are in splendid case."

He sat down in the nearest chair.

"Granted," he replied. "Your prescription worked wonders. I can sleep well, and eat well. I am a good climber. My muscles are in first-class order. I used to be a famous boxer in New York, and I should not be afraid to indulge in that pastime now. Yes, I am in capital health; nevertheless," here he dropped his voice to a whisper, "the premonitory symptoms of the next attack have begun."

I could not help starting.

"They have begun," he continued: "the thirst, the sense of uneasiness, the bad dreams."

"Well," I replied, as cheerfully as I could, "you are just in the condition to make a brave and successful fight. I have carefully studied cases like yours in your absence, and I am equipped to help you at all points. You must expect a bad fortnight. At the end of that time you will be on terra firma and will be practically safe. Now, will you come and stay with me?—you know I have placed a bedroom at your disposal."

"Thanks, but it is not necessary for me to do that yet. I will go to my old quarters at Mercer's Hotel, and will give you my word of honour to come here the first moment that I feel my self-control quite going."

"I would rather you came here at once."

"It is not necessary, I assure you. These symptoms may vanish again completely for a time, and although they will inevitably return, and the deadly thing must be fought out to the bitter end, yet a long interval may elapse before this takes place. I promised you to come to England the moment the first unpropitious symptom appeared. I shall be in your vicinity at Mercer's, and can get your assistance at any moment; but it is unfair to take possession of your spare room at this early date."

I could not urge the matter any farther. Helpful as I wished to be to this young man, I knew that he must virtually cure himself. I could not take his free will from him. I gave him some directions, therefore, which I hoped might be useful: begged of him to fill up all his time with work and amusement, and promised to go to him the first moment he sent for me.

He said he would call me in as soon as ever he found his symptoms growing worse, and went away with a look of courage and resolution on his face.

I felt sure that he was thinking of the girl whose photograph he held near his heart. Was he ever likely to win her? She was not a milk-and-water maiden, I felt convinced. There was steel as well as fire in those eyes. If she ever consented to become Tollemache's wife, she would undoubtedly keep him straight—but she was no fool. She knew the uselessness of throwing herself away on a drunkard.

Tollemache came to see me on the Monday of a certain week. On the following Thursday morning, just after I had finished seeing the last of my patients, my servant brought me a letter from him.

[Pg 469]

"This should have been handed to you yesterday," he said. "It had slipped under a paper in the letter-box. The housemaid has only just discovered it."

I opened it quickly. It contained these words:—

"Dear Halifax,—The demon gains ascendency over me, but I still hold him in check. Can you dine with me to-night at half-past seven? "Yours sincerely,

"Wilfred Tollemache."

The letter was dated Wednesday morning. I should have received it twenty-four hours ago. Smothering a vexed exclamation, I rushed off to Mercer's Hotel.

I asked for Tollemache, but was told by one of the waiters that he was out. I reflected for a moment and then inquired for the manager.

He came out into the entrance-hall in answer to my wish to see him, and invited me to come with him into his private sitting-room.

"What can I do for you, Dr. Halifax?" he asked.

"Well, not much," I answered, "unless you can give me some particulars with regard to Mr. Tollemache."

"He is not in, doctor. He went out last night, between nine and ten o'clock, and has not yet returned."

"I am anxious about him," I said. "I don't think he is quite well."

"As you mention the fact, doctor, I am bound to agree with you. Mr. Tollemache came in between six and seven last night in a very excited condition. He ran up to his rooms, where he had ordered dinner for two, and then came down to the bureau to know if any note or message had been left for him. I gathered from him that he expected to hear from you, sir."


"I am more vexed than I can express," I replied. "He wrote yesterday morning asking me to dine with him, and through a mistake the letter never got into my possession until twenty-four hours after it was written."

"Poor young gentleman," replied the manager, "then that accounts for the worry he seemed to be in. He couldn't rest, but was up and down, watching, as I gather now, for your arrival, doctor. He left the house soon after nine o'clock without touching his dinner, and has not since returned."

"Have you the least idea where he is?" I asked.

"No, sir, not the faintest; Mr. Tollemache has left all his things about and has not paid his bill, so of course he's safe to come back, and may do so at any moment. Shall I send you word when he arrives?"

"Yes, pray do," I answered. "Let me know the moment you get any tidings about him."

I then went away.

The manager had strict orders to give me the earliest information with regard to the poor fellow, and there was now nothing whatever for me to do but to try to banish him from my mind.

The next morning I went at an early hour to Mercer's to make inquiries. The manager came himself into the entrance-hall to see me.

"There's been no news, sir," he said, shaking his head: "not a line or a message of any sort. I hope no harm has happened to the poor gentleman. It seems a pity you shouldn't have got the letter, doctor, he seemed in a cruel way about your not turning up."

[Pg 470]

"Yes, it was a sad mistake," I answered, "but we must trust that no disaster has occurred. If Mr. Tollemache were quite well, I should not, of course, trouble my head over the matter."

"He was far from being that," said a waiter who came up at this moment. "Did you tell the doctor, sir, about the lady who called yesterday?" continued the man, addressing the manager.

"No, I had almost forgotten," he replied. "A lady in deep mourning—young, I should say, but she kept her veil down—arrived here last evening about eight o'clock and asked for Mr. Tollemache. I said he was out, and asked if she would wish her name to be left. She seemed to think for a moment and then said 'No,' that it didn't matter. She said she would come again, when she hoped to see him."

In his intercourse with me, Tollemache had never spoken of any lady but one, and her photograph he kept in his breast pocket. I wondered if this girl could possibly have been to see him, and, acting on the conjecture that the visitor might be she, I spoke.

"If the lady happens to call again," I said, "you may mention to her that I am Mr. Tollemache's medical man, and that I will see her with pleasure if she likes to come to my house in Harley Street." I then further impressed upon the manager the necessity of letting me know the moment any tidings came of Tollemache, and went away.

Nothing fresh occurred that evening, but the next morning, just when I had seen the last of my patients, a lady's card was put into my hand. I read the name on it, "Miss Beatrice Sinclair." A kind of premonition told me that Beatrice Sinclair had something to do with Tollemache. I desired my servant to admit her at once.

The next moment a tall girl, in very deep mourning, with a crape veil over her face, entered the room. She bowed to me, but did not speak for nearly half a minute. I motioned her to seat herself. She did so, putting up her hand at the same moment to remove her veil. I could not help starting when I saw her face. I bent suddenly forward and said, impulsively:—

"I know what you have come about—you are anxious about Wilfred Tollemache."

She looked at me in unfeigned surprise, and a flood of colour rushed to her pale cheeks. She was a handsome girl—her eyes were dark, her mouth tender and beautiful. There was strength about her face—her chin was very firm. Yes, I had seen those features before—or, rather, a faithful representation of them. Beatrice Sinclair had a face not easily forgotten.

"If this girl is Tollemache's good angel, there is undoubtedly hope for him," I murmured.


Meanwhile, the astonished look on her face gave way to speech.

"How can you possibly know me?" she said. "I have never seen you until this moment."

"I am Tollemache's doctor, and once he told me about you," I said. "On that occasion, too, he showed me your photograph."

Miss Sinclair rose in excitement from her seat. She had all the indescribable grace of a well-bred American girl.

"The fact of your knowing something about me makes matters much easier," she said. "May I tell you my story in a very few words?"

[Pg 471]


"My name, as you know, is Beatrice Sinclair. I am an American, and have spent the greater part of my life in New York. I am an only child, and my father, who was a general in the American army, died only a week ago. It is three years since I engaged myself provisionally to Wilfred Tollemache. We had known each other from childhood. He spoke of his attachment to me; he also told me"—here she hesitated and her voice trembled—"of," she continued, raising her eyes, "a fearful vice which was gaining the mastery over him. You know to what I allude. Wilfred was fast becoming a dipsomaniac. I would not give him up, but neither would I marry a man addicted to so terrible a failing. I talked to my father about it, and we agreed that if Wilfred abstained from drink for a year, I might marry him. He left us—that is three years ago. He has not written to me since, nor have I heard of him. I grew restless at last, for I—I have never ceased to love him. I have had bad dreams about him, and it seems to me that his redemption has been placed in my hands. I induced my father to bring me to Europe and finally to London. We arrived in London three weeks ago, and took up our quarters at the Métrôpole. We employed a clever detective to find out Wilfred Tollemache's whereabouts. A week ago this man brought us the information that he had rooms at Mercer's Hotel. Alas! on that day, also, my father died suddenly. I am now alone in the world. Two evenings ago I went to Mercer's Hotel to inquire for Mr. Tollemache. He was not in, and I went away. I returned to the hotel again this morning. Your message was given to me, and I came on to you at once. The manager of the hotel told me that you were Mr. Tollemache's medical man. If he needed the services of a doctor he must have been ill. Has he been ill? Can you tell me anything about him?"

"I can tell you a good deal about him. Won't you sit down?"

She dropped into a chair immediately, clasping her hands in her lap; her eyes were fixed on my face.

"You are right in your conjecture," I said. "Tollemache has been ill."

"Is he alive?"

"As far as I can tell, yes."

Her lips quivered.

"Don't you know where he is now?" she asked.

"I deeply regret that I do not," I answered.

She looked at me again with great eagerness.

"I know that you will tell me the truth," she continued, almost in a whisper. "I owe it to my dead father not to go against his wishes now. What was the nature of Mr. Tollemache's illness?"

"Delirium tremens," I replied, firmly.

Miss Sinclair's face grew the colour of death.

"I might have guessed it," she said. "I hoped, but my hope was vain. He has not fought—he has not struggled—he has not conquered."

"You are mistaken," I answered; "Tollemache has both fought and struggled, but up to the present he has certainly won no victory. Let me tell you what I know about him."

I then briefly related the story of our acquaintance. I concealed nothing, dwelling fully on the terrible nature of poor Tollemache's malady. I described to Miss Sinclair the depression, the despair, the overpowering moral weakness which accompanies the indulgence in this fearful vice. In short, I lifted the curtain, as I felt it was my duty to do, and showed the poor girl a true picture of the man to whom she had given her heart.

"Is there no hope for him?" she asked, when I had finished speaking.

"You are the only hope," I replied. "The last rock to which he clings is your affection for him. He was prepared to make a desperate fight when the next craving for drink assailed him. You were the motive which made him willing to undergo the agony of such a struggle. I look upon the passion for drink as a distinct disease: in short, as a species of insanity. I was prepared to see Tollemache through the next attack. If he endured the torture without once giving way to the craving for drink, he would certainly be on the high road to recovery. I meant to have him in my own house. In short, hopeless as his case seemed, I had every hope of him."

I paused here.

"Yes?" said Miss Sinclair. "I see that you are good and kind. Why do you stop? Why isn't Wilfred Tollemache here?"

"My dear young lady," I replied, "the best-laid plans are liable to mishap. Three days ago, Tollemache wrote to me telling me that he was in the grip of the enemy, and asking me to come to him at once. Most unfortunately, that letter was not put into my hands until twenty-four hours after it should have been delivered. I was not able to keep[Pg 472] the appointment which Tollemache had made with me, as I knew nothing about it until long after the appointed hour. The poor fellow left the hotel that night, and has not since returned."


"And you know nothing about him?"


I rose as I spoke. Miss Sinclair looked at me.

"Have you no plan to suggest?" she asked.

"No," I said, "there is nothing for us to do but to wait. I will not conceal from you that I am anxious, but at the same time my anxiety may be groundless. Tollemache may return to Mercer's at any moment. As soon as ever he does, you may be sure that I will communicate with you."

I had scarcely said these words before my servant came in with a note.

"From Mercer's Hotel, sir," he said, "and the messenger is waiting."

"I will send an answer in a moment," I said.

The man withdrew—Miss Sinclair came close to me.

"Open that letter quickly," she said, in an imperative voice. "It is from the hotel. He may be there even now."

I tore open the envelope. There was a line from the manager within.

"Dear Sir,—I send you the enclosed. I propose to forward the dressing-case at once by a commissionaire."

The enclosed was a telegram. The following were its brief contents:—

"Send me my dressing-case immediately by a private messenger.—Wilfred Tollemache."

An address was given in full beneath:—

"The Cedars, 110, Harvey Road, Balham."

I knew that Miss Sinclair was looking over my shoulder as I read. I turned and faced her.

Her eyes were blazing with a curious mixture of joy, excitement, and fear.

"Let us go to him," she exclaimed; "let us go to him at once. Let us take him the dressing-case."

I folded up the telegram and put it into my pocket.

Then I crossed the room and rang the bell. When my servant appeared, I gave him the following message:—

"Tell the messenger from Mercer's," I said, "that I will be round immediately, and tell him to ask the manager to do nothing until I come."

My servant withdrew and Miss Sinclair moved impatiently towards the door.

"Let us go," she said: "there is not a moment to lose. Let us take the dressing-case ourselves."

"I will take it," I replied; "you must not come."

"Why?" she asked, keen remonstrance in her tone.

"Because I can do better without you," I replied, firmly.

"I do not believe it," she answered.

"I cannot allow you to come with me," I[Pg 473] said. "You must accept this decision as final. You have had patience for three years; exercise it a little longer, and—God knows, perhaps you may be rewarded. Anyhow, you must trust me to do the best I can for Tollemache. Go back to the Métrôpole. I will let you know as soon as I have any news. You will, I am sure, trust me?"

"Oh, fully," she replied, tears suddenly filling her lovely eyes. "But remember that I love him—I love him with a very deep love."

There was something noble in the way she made this emphatic statement. I took her hand and led her from the room. A moment later she had left me, and I was hurrying on foot to Mercer's Hotel.

The manager was waiting for me in the hall. He had the dressing-case in his hand.

"Shall I send this by a commissionaire?" he asked.

"No," I replied, "I should prefer to take it myself. Tell the porter to call a hansom for me immediately."

The man looked immensely relieved.

"That is good of you, doctor," he said; "the fact is, I don't like the sound of that address."

"Nor do I," I replied.

"Do you know, Dr. Halifax, that the young lady—Miss Sinclair, she called herself—came here again this morning?"

"I have just seen her," I answered.

The hall porter now came to tell me that the hansom was at the door. A moment later I was driving to Balham, the dressing-case on my knee.


From Mercer's Hotel to this suburb is a distance of several miles, but fortunately the horse was fresh and we got over the ground quickly. As I drove along my meditations were full of strange apprehensions.

Tollemache had now been absent from Mercer's Hotel for two days and three nights. What kind of place was Harvey Road? What kind of house was 110? Why did Tollemache want his dressing-case? And why, if he did want it, could not he fetch it himself? The case had been a favourite of his—it had been a present from his mother, who was now dead. He had shown it to me one evening, and had expatiated with pride on its unique character. It was a sort of multum in parvo, containing many pockets and drawers not ordinarily found in a dressing-case. I recalled to mind the evening when Tollemache had brought it out of his adjacent bedroom and opened it for my benefit. All its accoutrements were heavily mounted in richly embossed silver. There was a special flap into which his cheque-book fitted admirably. Under the flap was a drawer, which he pulled open and regaled my astonished eyes with a quantity of loose diamonds and rubies which lay in the bottom.

"I picked up the diamonds in Cape Town," he said, "and the rubies in Ceylon. One or two of the latter are, I know, of exceptional value, and when I bought them I hoped that they might be of use——"

Here he broke off abruptly, coloured, sighed, and slipped the drawer back into its place.

It was easy to guess where his thoughts were.

Now that I had seen Miss Sinclair, I felt that I could better understand poor Tollemache. Such a girl was worth a hard fight to win. No wonder Tollemache hated himself when he felt his own want of moral strength, and knew that the prize of such a love as hers might never be his.

I knew well that the delay in the delivery of the note was terribly against the poor fellow's chance of recovery, and as I drove quickly to Balham,[Pg 474] my uneasiness grew greater and greater. Was he already in the clutches of his foe when he sent that telegram? I felt sure that he was not in immediate need of cash, as he had mentioned to me incidentally in our last interview that he had drawn a large sum from his bank as soon as ever he arrived in England.

We arrived at Balham in about an hour, but my driver had some difficulty in finding Harvey Road.

At last, after skirting Tooting Bee Common we met a policeman who was able to acquaint us with its locality. We entered a long, straggling, slummy-looking road, and after a time pulled up at 110. It was a tall house, with broken and dirty Venetian blinds. The hall door was almost destitute of paint. A balcony ran round the windows of the first floor.

I did not like the look of the house, and it suddenly occurred to me that I would not run the risk of bringing the dressing-case into it.

I had noticed the name of a respectable chemist over a shop in the High Street, a good mile away, and desired the driver to go back there at once.

He did so. I entered the shop, carrying the case in my hand. I gave the chemist my card, and asked him if he would oblige me by taking care of the dressing-case for an hour. He promised civilly to do what I asked, and I stepped once more into the hansom and told the man to drive back as fast as he could to 110, Harvey Road.

He obeyed my instructions. The moment the hansom drew up at the door, I sprang out and spoke to the driver.

"I want you to remain here," I said. "Don't on any account leave this door until I come out. I don't like the look of the house."

The man gave it a glance of quick interrogation. He did not say anything, but the expression of his eyes showed me plainly that he confirmed my opinion.

"I think you understand me," I said. "Stay here until you see me again, and if I require you to fetch a policeman, be as quick about it as you can."

The man nodded, and I ran up the broken steps of 110.

The door possessed no knocker, but there was a bell at the side.

I had to pull it twice before it was answered; then a slatternly and tawdrily dressed servant put in an appearance. Her face was dirty. She had pinned a cap in hot haste on her frowzy head of red hair, and was struggling to tie an apron as she opened the door.

"Is Mr. Tollemache in?" I asked. "I wish to see him at once."

The girl's face became watchful and secretive—she placed herself between me and the hall.

"There's a gentleman upstairs," she said; "but you can't see him, he's ill."

"Oh, yes, I can," I answered. "I am his doctor—let me pass, please. Mr. Tollemache has telegraphed for his dressing-case, and I have replied to the telegram."

"Oh, if you have brought the parcel, you can go up," she said, in a voice of great relief. "I know they're expecting a parcel. You'll find 'em all on the first floor. Door just opposite the stairs—you can't miss it."

I pushed past her and ran up the stairs. They were narrow and dark. The carpet on which I trod felt greasy.

I flung open the door the girl had indicated, and found myself in a good-sized sitting-room. It faced the street, and the window had a balcony outside it.

Seated by a centre table drawn rather near this window were three men, with the most diabolical faces I have ever looked at. One of them was busily engaged trying to copy poor Tollemache's signature, which was scrawled on a half sheet of paper in front of him—the other two were eagerly watching his attempts. Tollemache himself lay in a dead drunken sleep on the sofa behind them.

My entrance was so unexpected that none of the men were prepared for me. I stepped straight up to the table, quickly grabbed the two sheets of paper, crushed them up in my hand, and thrust them into my pocket.

"I have come to fetch Mr. Tollemache away," I said.

The men were so absolutely astonished at my action and my words, that they did not speak at all for a moment. They all three jumped from their seats at the table and stood facing me. The noise they made pushing back their chairs aroused Tollemache, who, seeing me, tottered to his feet and came towards me with a shambling, uneasy gait.

"Hullo, Halifax, old man, how are you?" he gasped, with a drunken smile. "What are you doing here? We're all having a ripping time: lots of champagne; but I've lost my watch and chain and all my money—three hundred pounds—I've telegraphed for my cheque-book, though. Glad you've come, old boy—'pon my word I am. Want[Pg 475] to go away with you, although we have had a ripping time, yes, awfully ripping."

"You shall come," I said. "Sit down first for a moment."

I pushed him back with some force on to the sofa and turned to one of the men, who now came up and asked me my business.

"What are you doing here?" he inquired. "We don't want you—you had better get out of this as fast as you can. You have no business here, so get out."

"Yes, I have business here," I replied. "I have come for this man," here I went up to Tollemache and laid my hand on his shoulder. "I am his doctor and he is under my charge. I don't leave here without him, and, what is more," I added, "I don't leave here without his property either. You must give me back his watch and chain and the three hundred pounds you have robbed him of. Now you understand what I want?"

"We'll see about that," said one of the men, significantly. He left the room as he spoke.

During his absence, the other men stood perfectly quiet, eyeing me with furtive and stealthy glances.

Poor Tollemache sat upright on the sofa, blinking with his heavy eyes. Sometimes he tried to rise, but always sank back again on his seat. During the whole time he kept muttering to himself:—

"Yes, good fellows these: jolly time, champagne, all the rest, but I'm robbed; this is a thieves' den. Don't leave me alone, Halifax. Want to go. You undershtand. Watch and chain gone, and all my money; three hundred in notes and gold. Yes, three hundred. Won't let me go till I give 'em my cheque-book; telegraphed for cheque-book in dressing-case. You undershtand, yes. Don't leave me, old boy."

"It will be all right," I said. "Stay quiet."

The position was one of extreme danger for both of us. There was nothing whatever for it but to carry matters with a cool hand and not to show a vestige of fear. I glanced round me and observed the position of the room. The sofa on which Tollemache was sitting was close to the window. This window had French doors, which opened on to the balcony. I edged close to it.

I did not do this a moment too soon. The man who had left the room now returned with a ruffian of gigantic build, who came up to me at once with a menacing attitude.


"Who are you?" he said, shaking his brawny fist in my face. "We don't want you here—get out of this room at once, or it will be the worse for you. We won't 'ave you a-interfering with our friends. This gent 'ave come 'ere of his own free will. We like him, and 'e's 'eartily welcome to stay as long as 'e wants to. You'd best go, ef you value your life."

[Pg 476]

While he was speaking I suddenly flung my hand behind me, and turning the handle of the French window threw it open.

I stepped on to the balcony and called to the cabman: "Stay where you are," I said, "I may want you in a moment." Then I entered the room again.

"I don't wish to waste words on you," I said, addressing the burly man. "I have come for Mr. Tollemache, and I don't mean to leave the house without him. He comes away with me the moment you return his watch and chain, and the three hundred pounds you have stolen from him. If you don't fetch that watch and chain, and that money, I shall send the cabman who is waiting for me outside, and who knows me, for the police. You are best acquainted with what sort of house this is, and with what sort of game you are up to. It is for you to say how near the wind you are sailing. If you wish the police to find out, they can be here in a minute or two. If not, give me the money and the watch and chain. I give you two minutes to make your choice."

Here I took out my watch and looked at it steadily.

I stepped again on to the balcony.

"Cabby," I shouted, "if I am not with you in three minutes from now, go and bring a couple of policemen here as quickly as ever you can."

The cabman did not speak, but he took out his watch and looked at it.

I re-entered the room.

"Now you know my mind," I said. "I give you two minutes to decide how to act. If Mr. Tollemache and I are not standing on the pavement in three minutes from now, the police will come and search this house. It is for you to decide whether you wish them to do so or not."

I was glad to see that my words had an effect upon the biggest of the ruffians. He looked at his companions, who glanced back at him apprehensively. One of them edged near me and tried to peer over my shoulder to see if the cabman were really there.

Tollemache went on mumbling and muttering on the sofa. I stood with my back to the window, my watch in my hand, marking the time.

"Time's up," I said, suddenly replacing the watch. "Now, what do you mean to do?"

"We'd best oblige the gent, don't yer think so, Bill?" said one of the men to his chief.

"We'll see about that," said the chief. He came close to me again.

"Now, look you 'ere," he said, "you'd best go out quiet, and no mischief will come. The gent 'ere 'e give us the watch and chain and the money, being old pals of his as he picked up in New York City."

"That's a lie," shouted Tollemache.

"Stay quiet," I said to him.

Then I turned to the ruffian, whose hot breath I felt on my cheek.

"We do not leave here," I said, "without the watch and chain and the money. My mind is quite made up. When I go, this gentleman goes, and we neither of us go without his property."

These words of mine were almost drowned by the heavy noise of an approaching dray. It lumbered past the window. As it did so, I stepped on to the balcony to acquaint the cabman with the fact that the three minutes were up.

I looked down into the street, and could not help starting—the cab had vanished.

I turned round quickly.

The big man had also stepped upon the balcony—he gave me an evil glance. Suddenly seizing me by the collar, he dragged me back into the room.

"You ere a humbug, you ere," he said, "wid yer bloomin' cabs—there ain't no cab there—no, nor never wor. Ef you don't go in one way you go in another. It ain't our fault ef things ain't quite agreeable. Come along, Sam, lend a 'and."

The next moment the ruffian had laid me flat on my back on the floor, and was kneeling on my chest.

Tollemache tottered from the sofa, and made a vain struggle to get the brute away.

"You get out of this," the fellow thundered at him. "I'll make an end of you, too, ef you don't look out."

He fumbled in his pocket and took out a huge clasp-knife.

I closed my eyes, feeling sure that my last hour had come. At this moment, however, the rapidly approaching sound of cab wheels was distinctly audible. A cab drove frantically up and stopped at the door.

The four ruffians who were clustered round me all heard it, and the big man took his knee off my chest.

Quick as thought I found my feet again, and before anyone could prevent me, leaped out on to the balcony. Two policemen were standing on the steps of the house—one of them had the bell-pull in his hand and was just about to sound a thundering peal.

"Stop," I shouted to him; "don't ring for a moment—stay where you are."[Pg 477] Then I turned and faced the group in the room.


"It is not too late," I said; "I give you one minute's grace. Return this gentleman's watch and chain and the three hundred pounds you have stolen from him, and I say nothing to the two policemen who are now waiting on the steps. If I have not the money back within a minute, the police enter your house—now you can choose."

I saw by the expression on the face of the bully who had knocked me down that he was only too eager to accede to my request.

"Come on, Bill," he said to one of his pals, "I suppose there ain't nothing for it but to do what the gen'leman says. Yes, yes, you be quiet, sir, and you'll have all the swag—lor', we only pulled you down by way of a joke, and as to the money and the other waluables, we was keeping 'em for the gent. Who'd want to rob a poor innercent like that? You promise not to peach on us, sir?"

"Be quick," I shouted. "I give you a minute, no more—give me the money and the watch and chain. You had better hurry up."

They did hurry up with a vengeance. The big man was as great a coward as he was a ruffian. As he thrust his hands deep into his trousers pockets, I saw that he was absolutely shaking with fright. Tollemache's magnificent watch and chain were laid on the table, and all four men turned their pockets out and deposited gold and notes by the side of the other property. I stepped up to the table and reckoned the money. Two hundred and eighty pounds and the watch and chain were returned to me. The remaining twenty pounds were, I plainly saw, hopelessly gone. It was not worth fighting for them. I put the gold and notes and the watch and chain into my pocket, and going up to Tollemache took his arm.

"Come," I said, "we can go now."

The terror which must have seized him when he saw me struggling on the floor had partly sobered him, but now he had returned to the most imbecile stage of his horrible vice. He struggled to his feet and clutched hold of me.

"Want my pipe," he muttered. "I say, old boy, won't go without my pipe."

[Pg 478]

I had hard work to keep my patience. He was a big man, and I could not control him against his will. We were by no means yet out of the wood. The four ruffians were eyeing us as if they would only too gladly kill us both by slow torture. Never before had I encountered eight such diabolical eyes as those which they fixed upon me. And there stood Tollemache, with an idiotic smile on his face, and imagining that he was doing a wonderful and clever thing when he refused to stir without his pipe.

"Don't be a fool," I said, sternly, to him. "Come, now, I'll get you your pipe to-morrow."

To my relief he seemed satisfied with this assurance, and suffered me to drag him across the room.

When we reached the door the big ruffian came up and intercepted us.

"We have your word not to peach?" he said.

"Yes," I replied—"let me pass."

He did so, and I helped Tollemache as best I could downstairs.

The four men watched our descent over the banisters.

As soon as I had got my patient out on the steps, one of the policemen came up to me.

"What's the trouble, sir?" he demanded. "Can we help you?"

"This gentleman is hopelessly drunk," I replied—"I thought it possible I might need your assistance in getting him from the house. You will oblige me much by helping me now to put him in the cab."

"No other trouble in there, sir?" asked the man, meaningly.

"None," I answered. "Will you kindly take the gentleman's other arm?"

The policeman did so—his eyes were full of significance. He guessed, of course, that I was hiding something, but it was not for him to make any further remarks.

I took Tollemache straight back to my own house, and for the next week I had once again to lend him what aid I could in fighting the terrible demons who attack the victims of delirium tremens. I engaged two skilful men to nurse him, and, between us, we managed to drag the poor fellow away from the shores of death.

All this time I was in daily communication with Beatrice Sinclair. I got to know her well during these dark days. She was a girl to win the respect and admiration of any man, and she undoubtedly won mine. There was something grandly simple and unconventional about her.

"I am alone in the world," she said to me many times; "my mission in life is to save Wilfred Tollemache."

"You will not save him by marrying him in his present state," I answered her.

She raised her brows and looked at me in some slight surprise.

"I have no intention of marrying him at present," she said. "Nothing would induce me to unite my lot with that of a drunkard—besides, I promised my father. I will marry Wilfred when he has abstained from drink for a year—not before."

"If he abstains for a year he will be cured," I replied.

There came an evening when Tollemache was sufficiently convalescent to come downstairs. I had not yet said anything to him about Miss Sinclair, but as I knew she was impatient to see him, I wondered if it might be safe for me to break the news of her arrival on the scene to him that evening. He sat in my consulting-room huddled up by the fire. The evening was a warm one in April, but he looked chilly and depressed.

I drew a chair near him and sat down.

He looked at me with languid eyes out of a cadaverous face.

"I can't make out why you are so good to me," he said. "I am not worth the thought of a man like you."

I did not reply for a moment. Then I said, tersely:—

"It would be a great victory to save you, and I believe it can be done."

"I have a sort of memory," said Tollemache, "of your having already saved my life at the risk of your own."

"That is true," I answered.

"How can I pay you back?" he asked. "Will money——?"

"No," I interrupted, harshly, springing to my feet as I spoke—"money won't. I want you to become a man again: that is my reward."

He seemed to shrink into himself; there was not a scrap of fibre about him at present.

"Will you tell me," I said, "how you got into that den?"

He roused himself a little at this, and some animation came into his eyes.

"That was partly your fault," he said. "You did not keep your word; you never came to me when I wrote to you. I told you that I was losing self-control——"

I interrupted him to explain why I had not received his letter.

"Well," he said, "I spent a day of fear[Pg 479]ful torture. I knew I was on the brink of a precipice, and that unless you pulled me back, against my will, over I must go. I returned to Mercer's in the evening and looked eagerly for your note. None had arrived. I waited for you until nine o'clock, and then in a sort of frenzy went out. I had a very stiff brandy-and-soda, which pulled me together for a bit, and seeing a music-hall in Oxford Street, I went in. There I was supplied with fresh drink, and while I was indulging, a man of the name of Hawker, who had once seen me in a drunken condition in New York, came up and claimed acquaintance. I knew, the moment I looked at the fellow, that the demon had got the upper hand. Hawker talked, and supplied me with fresh drink. He introduced me to a companion as low as himself. I have a dim remembrance of driving away with these men and of spending the night over cards and unlimited drink. In the morning I wanted to leave, but the fellows threatened me, and in my drunken state I was no match for them. Hawker sat down near me and asked a lot of questions, to which I replied as readily as if I were a baby. I don't know how that day or the next passed. I gave Hawker the address of the hotel where I was staying, and told him about my dressing-case and its valuable contents. Hawker filled in a telegram to the manager of the hotel, which he made me sign. When it was sent off, he gave me a sheet of paper and desired me to write my signature on it. I did so—the men then sat round a table and began to copy it. The horrors of delirium tremens were already upon me, and my mind became filled with all manner of terrible imaginings. I closed my eyes and dozed off. When next I opened them, you were standing in the room."


"You were practically out of your mind," I replied; "but the thing is over, and well over. By the way, have you ever thought, during the last terrible fortnight, of the photograph which you were good enough to show me?"

Tollemache started and clenched his nerveless hand.

"Don't speak of it," he said. "The one thing left to me to be thankful for, is that she has not linked her life with mine."

"You have undoubtedly much cause to be thankful," I replied. "The wife of a drunkard is the most miserable woman on God's earth. Please pardon me, however, if I pain you a little by speaking about the girl whose photograph you showed me. Do you mind telling me her name?"

"Beatrice Sinclair."

"How old is she?"

"Twenty—there is really no use in this catechism, Halifax."

"I am sorry to pain you," I replied, briefly; "but the fact is, I was struck with Miss Sinclair's face—there is a great deal of strength in it. If you conquered your fault, she would be the woman of all others to keep you straight. She is, I am certain, attached to you. To win a girl like Beatrice Sinclair ought to be a motive strong enough to make any man conquer a vice like yours."

Tollemache was now intensely agitated. He sprang to his feet.

"I tell you," he said, "she has forgotten all about me. It is three years since she[Pg 480] has heard my name. She has in all probability married another man long ere this."

"I am sure she has not," I answered.

He thrust his hand into his breast pocket, and drew out the case which contained the photograph.

"Many a time I have wanted to put this into the fire," he said. "I dare not part with it, and yet I dare not look at it."

"Keep it," I said: "there is hope for you while you have it."

"There isn't a ghost of hope for me," he said. He threw himself back again into his chair, and covered his face.

My servant came into the room and brought me a message.

"Tollemache," I said, "a lady has called who wishes to see me. Will you forgive me if I leave you for a minute or two?"

He growled out some reply which was scarcely intelligible, and I left the room.

I went into my library, where Beatrice Sinclair was waiting for me.

"Well," she said, coming up to me eagerly, "is he ready for me?"

"He thinks you have forgotten him," I said, "and that in all probability you are married to another."

"What a cruel thought!"

"But he keeps your photograph in his breast pocket."

"Does he, indeed?" Her eyes blazed with sudden joy.

"He is tempted often to throw it into the fire," I continued, "for he feels himself unworthy of you; but he neither dares to throw it away nor to look at it."

"He shall look at me instead. Take me to him at once."

"You will see the wreck of the Tollemache you used to know."

"He shall not be a wreck long. I have vowed to save him. My life is at his service."

"Remember your promise to your father."

"I remember it. I will not break it. Now take me to him."

She came up to me and held out her hand. I took it and went with her to the door of the next room, opened it, and motioned to her to enter.

When she did so, I closed it softly and came away.

I had a firm conviction that with such unexpected aid, Tollemache would have moral strength to overcome the vice which was ruining him.

Subsequent events proved that I was right.

[Pg 481]

From Behind the Speaker's Chair.




There is something gravely comical in the manner the London morning newspapers deal with the Queen's Speech on the morning preceding its communication to Parliament. They know all about it, and, as the event proves, are able to forecast it paragraph by paragraph. Yet, withal, they shrink from any assumption of positive knowledge, or even of attempt to foretell what will take place. "Her Majesty," they write, "must of necessity allude to the progress of events in Central Africa and on the East of that dark but interesting continent." You learn half a day in advance of the opening of Parliament exactly what Ministers have resolved to say on this particular topic. Other events of current interest at home and abroad are introduced in the same casual manner, and are dealt with in similar detail. Mr. Wemmick had carefully studied this style, and had successfully assimilated it with his ordinary conversation and methods of transacting business.

The general impression is that editors of the principal London papers receive a copy of the Queen's Speech on the night before the Session opens, with the understanding that they are to treat it gingerly, and, above all, to safeguard Ministers from suspicion of collusion in the premature publication. To adopt the consecrated style, I may observe that this will probably be found to be a misapprehension. Doubtless what happens is that the editor of the morning paper meets at his club a Cabinet Minister of his acquaintance, who, following immemorial usage, feels at liberty to give his friend a conversational summary of the points of the Speech. Or it may happen that an appointment is made with the Whip authorized to make such communication. Certainly it will, upon investigation, appear that there is no foundation for the fiction of a written copy of the Speech being supplied for editorial use. Years ago the editor, either of the Times or the Morning Chronicle, profiting by personal acquaintance, was able on the morning of the meeting of Parliament to forecast the Queen's Speech. He invented, as desirable in the circumstances, the roundabout style of communication alluded to. The following year other papers, working the oracle on the same lines, adopted the same primly mysterious style. There is no reason why this should now be done; but done it is, as the eve of the Session, still young, testified. New journalism has been a potent agency in varying Press usages. It has not yet ventured to attack this decrepit old farce.



The only copy of the Queen's Speech which passes outside the Ministerial ken before the Session opens is that forwarded, with the compliments of the Leader of the House, to the Leader of the Opposition. This is an act of grace and courtesy, happily and accurately illustrating the spirit in which controversy is carried on in English politics. Mr. Disraeli and Mr. Gladstone maintained no social relations outside the House of Commons. But that was an exception to the ordinary course of things. At this day the stranger in the gallery hearing Mr. Chamberlain pouring contumely and scorn on Sir William Harcourt, and observing the Chancellor of the Exchequer almost savagely retorting, may be forgiven if he supposes the cleavage in political relations has severed personal friendships. That is certainly not the fact in respect of these two former colleagues, or of other more or less prominent combatants in the Parliamentary arena. It frequently happens, in the course of the Session, that two members who, between the hours of five and seven-thirty, have been engaged in fiercest controversy in the House of Commons, will be found at eight o'clock sitting at the same dinner-table, discussing the situation from quite another point of view. This is a condition of affairs which does not exist,[Pg 482] certainly not to equal extent, in any other political battlefield, whether at home or abroad.


When the Fourth Party was in the plenitude of its power, it pleased its members to assume all the customs of those larger political factions of which it was the microcosm. Since Ministers and the Leaders of the regular Opposition were in the habit of meeting together on the eve of a new Session, dining, and thereafter reviewing the situation and settling their policy, the Fourth Party had their pre-Sessional dinner. Lord Randolph Churchill tells me of a charming incident connected with this custom. Meeting on the eve of the Session of 1881, they solemnly agreed that they, as a Party, were at a disadvantage inasmuch as they had not before them a copy of the Queen's Speech. Lord Randolph accordingly wrote a formal letter, addressed to Lord Richard Grosvenor, then Ministerial Whip, asking him to be so good as to favour him and his colleagues with a copy of Her Majesty's gracious Speech, in accordance with custom when the Leaders of Her Majesty's Opposition were in conference on the eve of a Session. I do not know whether Lord Richard, in the fashion of his reply, rose to the sublime height of this joke. But the copy of the Speech was not forthcoming.

The Fourth Party at the beginning of their career went a step further than the regular Leaders of the Opposition whom they, only half in jest, affected to supersede. Her Majesty's Ministers, in accordance with custom, went down to Greenwich for a whitebait dinner at the end of the Session, the Leaders of the Opposition being content with a festive gathering on the eve of the opening of Parliament. The Fourth Party, equal to both occasions, not only convivially foregathered at the opening of the Session, but had their whitebait dinner at the end. In 1880, the year of their birth, they, never afraid of creating a precedent, invited an outsider to join the feast. This was Mr. Labouchere, Mr. Bradlaugh's standard-bearer, whom they had been fighting hand to hand all through the turbulent Session.

But it is a poor heart that never rejoices, and in their young days the Fourth Party were merry grigs.


Some time ago inquiry was made in the columns of a country paper as to the origin of the cognomen "County Guy," as attached to Lord Hartington. I happen to know that the phrase, much in vogue seventeen or eighteen years ago, appeared in the series of papers entitled "Under the Clock," published weekly in the World. It was suggested by Sir Walter Scott's well-known lines:—

Bird, breeze, and flower proclaim the hour:
But where is County Guy?

Lord Hartington was at the time Leader of the Opposition, vice Mr. Gladstone, convinced that "at my time of life"—he was sixty-five when he wrote—his public work was finished, and he had earned the right to spend his declining years in the comparative leisure of his library. Even the eminence of the position, and the hitherto unbroken habit of the Leader of a party being in his place when questions began, did not overcome Lord Hartington's constitutional inability to come up to time. It was characteristic of him that he scorned the opportunity provided for quietly dropping into his place, without fixing attention upon his delayed arrival. He might have entered from behind the Speaker's Chair and taken his seat without any but those in the immediate neighbourhood noting the moment of his appearance on the scene. He always walked in from the doorway under the clock, in full view of the House, usually with one hand in his pocket, his hat swinging in the other hand, lounging towards his seat as if he were rather five minutes too soon than half an hour too late. When, in the last Parliament, he returned to the Front Opposition Bench as Leader of the Liberal Unionists, he observed precisely the same custom. He was invariably late, even at critical epochs, and always walked in by the front door.

On one occasion he arrived very early in the morning, but that was an accident due to misunderstanding. It was during the passage of the Coercion Act of the Salisbury Parliament. The Irish members had kept things going all night. At five o'clock in the morning, Lord Hartington, in common with other absentees of his party, received a telegram to the following effect:—

"Been on duty all night. Only us two here. Come down to relieve us.

(Signed) "Chamberlain,

This was enough to make even Lord Hartington hurry up. The picture of Mr. Chamberlain standing by the Government all night, warring with the common enemy, whilst the Leader was comfortably in his bed, was a reflection not pleasant to dwell upon. Hurrying on his clothes he made his way down to the House, one of a steady stream of Liberal Unionists like himself, abashed to think they had left Mr. Chamberlain in the[Pg 483] lurch. Entering the House, they came upon Mr. T. W. Russell and Mr. Richard Chamberlain, keeping guard on the heights where the Liberal Unionists encamp. It was all right, of course. But it was not Mr. Richard Chamberlain who was in their mind when they hurried down in obedience to the imperative command.


Apart from the question of wages members of the British House of Commons do not condescend to acceptance of the various smaller privileges which ameliorate the condition of legislators in other countries. In some of the Continental Legislatures, and in most of the Colonies, M. P.'s travel free on the railways. For the British member, more especially for the Irish representative, the cost of locomotion when going about the country's business is a serious item. Not to speak of the occasional discomforts of the voyage, it costs an Irish member over £5 to journey to and from Westminster. For many Dublin is merely the starting point for a more or less prolonged trip over the highly-priced and not conveniently-arranged home railways.

At Washington, members of the House of Representatives, in addition to a fixed salary and liberal allowance for railway fares, have various little pickings, in the way, for example, of stationery, which is supplied ad libitum for their private use. Another privilege, indispensable to the due performance of their labours, is a bath. Attached to the Legislative Chamber is one of the most luxurious bathing establishments in the world. Anything, from the ordinary cold tub to the most elaborate Turkish bath, is at the disposal of members. The prospect of being able to retire from a heated debate and enjoy the long luxury of a Turkish bath is sufficient to make a British M. P.'s mouth water. Of course, there is the difficulty about the imminence of divisions. The sound of the division bell, suddenly clanging through the various chambers of a Turkish bath, would cause dire consternation. But daily use would suggest a means of minimizing possible inconvenience. There might, for example, come into existence such a thing as a bath pair, corresponding with the present dinner pair.



It will appear scarcely credible that the House of Commons, though widely known as the best club in the world, lacks the accommodation, common to an ordinary club, of dressing-rooms where members may change their clothes for dinner. The convenience of such an arrangement is particularly obvious in the case of a body of men, the majority of whom dine out during the Session, and are frequently, by the imminence of a division, kept waiting about to within a quarter of an hour of the time at which they are due for dinner. Ministers have their private room. But for this purpose it is of less use to them than to the private member. They are not supposed to dine out whilst the House is in Session, and if they, greatly daring, dine, they avail themselves of the privilege of presenting themselves in morning dress. Occasionally one lends his room to a private friend, hard pressed to keep a dinner engagement, possible only if he can save the time involved in going home to dress.

A few Sessions ago, a well-known Q.C. had an exciting adventure consequent upon changing his dress at the House. He had arranged with a friend in the Ministry, who had a chamber near the top of the staircase leading into Palace Yard, to use it as a dressing-room. He anxiously watched the course of the debate as it proceeded over seven o'clock, hoping it would conclude in time for him to run into his friend's room, and slip into his dinner-dress in time to keep his appointment. At half-past seven things began to look bad. A member, usually good for at least half an hour, had risen to continue the debate. On second thoughts, here was a chance. Suppose he were to retire now, change his clothes, and be ready to drive off as soon as the division lobby was cleared?

He acted on the idea with characteristic promptitude, and had reached an exceedingly critical stage in the change of raiment, when the division bell rang. The mem[Pg 484]ber in possession of the House when he left it had been unexpectedly merciful, had brought his remarks within the limits of ten minutes, and the division was called. Only three minutes elapse between the clearing of the House for a division and the putting of the question. Supposing the Q.C. to be fully dressed, there was only time comfortably to reach the House from the Minister's room. He was certainly not dressed, and it was a nice question whether it would be a shorter process to go back to the chrysalis state of morning dress, or proceed to complete the butterfly development upon which he had embarked when almost paralyzed by the sound of the division bell. One thing was clear, he must take part in the division. An issue depended on it which would not incline the Whips to accept frivolous excuse for abstention.

Again a happy thought occurred to him. Suppose he were to put on an overcoat and so hide his collarless condition? But his overcoat was in the cloak-room, a flight lower down. The spectacle of a learned and somewhat adipose Q.C. rushing downstairs in shirt and trousers might lead to misapprehension. There was, however, nothing else to be done, and the flight was successfully accomplished. The hon. member safely reached the cloak-room, was helped on with his coat, and, with collar turned up closely buttoned at the throat, he passed through the Division Lobby, an object of much sympathy to his friends, who thought his cold must be bad indeed to justify this extreme precaution on a summer night.


It is a well-known fact, much appreciated in quarters personally concerned, that no action for libel may be based upon words spoken in the House of Commons. This understanding has been confirmed by an action to which Mr. Arthur Balfour was an involuntary party. In the course of debate, in which he took part as Chief Secretary, he had spoken disrespectfully of a midwife in the south of Ireland. The lady's friends rallied round her, and guaranteed funds to cover the expenses of a civil action for damages brought against the Chief Secretary. Had the case come before a Cork jury, as was inevitable if it went to trial, it would doubtless have proved a profitable transaction for the plaintiff. Mr. Balfour appealed to a higher Court, on the ground that the words spoken in Parliamentary debate are privileged. The Court sustained this view, and the trial was set aside.

I have high judicial authority for the statement that in spite of this rule the position of a member of Parliament in the matter of libel is not impregnable. He is quite safe, not only as far as words spoken in the House are concerned, but is not responsible for their publication in the newspapers, or their subsequent appearance in "Hansard." "Hansard," however, is accustomed to send to each member a report of his speech, leaving to him the option of revision. If the proof be not returned within a few days it is assumed that no correction is desired, and the speech goes down to posterity in the form it was handed in by the reporter. When a member has revised his speech the fact is intimated by a star.

It is herein the distinction in the matter of legal liability is established. A member having voluntarily revised his speech is assumed, by the fresh and independent action taken outside the House of Commons, to have assumed a liability he would otherwise have escaped. An action would lie against him, not for the speech delivered in Parliament, but for the publication of the libel under his revision, and upon his authority, in a widely circulated periodical. Verb. sap.


A glance over any volume of "Hansard" shows that it is only the new or inconsiderable member, whose speeches are not likely to become the texts of subsequent debate, who is at pains to revise reports of his Parliamentary utterances. Old Parliamentary hands like Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Balfour, and Mr. Chamberlain are, in the first place, too busy, and, in the second, too wise, to commit themselves to the task.

Mr. Chamberlain once suffered from yielding to the temptation to secure an accurate report of his deliverances on important political questions. In 1885, on the precipice below which unexpectedly lay the fissure in the Liberal Party, Messrs. Routledge brought out a series of volumes containing reports of the speeches of some six or eight statesmen on questions of the day. It was an "authorized" edition, the various contributors revising their speeches. At this epoch Mr. Chamberlain was the risen hope of the Radical Party. His vigorous argument and incisive invective were directed against the Conservative Party, its history, ancient and modern. It is from this little volume that Mr. Gladstone, in his speech at Edinburgh just before the Winter Session, drew the citation of Mr. Chamberlain's indictment of the House of Lords. It was not the first time it had been remembered.[Pg 485] But Mr. Gladstone's joyous discovery sent it trumpet-tongued throughout the English-speaking world. It is this compilation that rescued from the obscurity of daily newspaper reports the happily conceived, perfectly phrased, and now classical similitude drawn between Mr. Gladstone and a mountain.

"Sometimes I think," Mr. Chamberlain said in a passage the perfect literary form of which tempts to quotation, "that great men are like mountains, and that we do not appreciate their magnitude while we are still close to them. You have to go to a distance to see which peak it is that towers above its fellows; and it may be that we shall have to put between us and Mr. Gladstone a space of time before we shall know how much greater he has been than any of his competitors for fame and power. I am certain that justice will be done to him in the future, and I am not less certain that there will be a signal condemnation of the men who, moved by motives of party spite, in their eagerness for office, have not hesitated to treat with insult and indignity the greatest statesman of our time—who have not allowed even his age, which entitles him to their respect, or his high personal character, or his long services to his Queen and his country, to shield him from the vulgar affronts and the lying accusations of which he has nightly been made the subject in the House of Commons. He, with his great magnanimity, can afford to forget and forgive these things. Those whom he has served so long it behoves to remember them, to resent them, and to punish them."

The speech in which this gem lies entombed was delivered at Birmingham, on the 4th June, 1885. In the intervening nine years Mr. Chamberlain has had opportunities of regarding the mountain from other points of view, and has discovered quite new aspects.

This volume of Mr. Chamberlain's speeches has long been out of print. The shilling edition and the half-crown edition command considerably enhanced prices on the rare occasions when they come upon the market. There is one precious copy in the Library in the House of Commons, the condition of which testifies to the frequency of reference. The existence of such a record may be occasionally embarrassing to the politician, but if Mr. Chamberlain were vain, it must be gratifying to the man. It is only a strong personality that could evoke such testimony of eager interest.


It is pretty to note the deathless attraction the House of Commons has for members who have left it to take their seats in another place. They may be peers privileged to sit in the stately Chamber at the other side of the Octagon Hall. But their hearts, untravelled, fondly turn to the plainer Chamber in which is set the Speaker's Chair. Even the Duke of Devonshire has not been able wholly to resist the spell. Whilst he was still member for Rossendale, it was only a heroic, predominant sense of duty that brought him down to the Commons. Since he became a peer scarcely an evening passes in the Session that he does not look in, chatting with friends in the Lobby, sometimes sitting out an hour of debate, watched from the gallery over the clock. Lord Rowton never had a seat in the Commons other than that under the gallery allotted to the Private Secretary of the Leader of the House. But in earlier days he had much business in the Lobby of the House of Commons, and when in town and in attendance on the House of Lords, he rarely misses the opportunity of revisiting his old haunts.


It is many years since Lord Morris was "the boy for Galway," representing the county through several Sessions. Through that avenue he joked his way, first to be Solicitor-General, then Attorney-General, next Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, and[Pg 486] finally Lord of Appeal, with a life peerage. During the debates in the Commons last Session on the Home Rule Bill he was in constant attendance. Even when the subject-matter of debate is not one that touches the heart of a patriot, the ex-member for Galway is regularly seen in the Lobby of the House of Commons, his presence being indicated by a ripple of laughter in the group surrounding him.

For some Sessions after the House of Commons suffered the irreparable loss of the counsel of Sir Richard Cross, the Lobby was occasionally suffused by the air of wisdom and respectability inseparable from the presence of Lord Cross. Last Session he intermitted this habit, the Lobby becoming in his absence almost a resort for the frivolous. Lord Monk-Bretton is another old Commoner who has not entirely overcome the habit of strolling into the Lobby of the House in whose Chair of Committees he once sat. Lord Playfair, another ex-Chairman of Committees, is often seen there. The Earl of Aberdeen, before Canada claimed him, was almost nightly in the Lobby and corridors of the House of Commons, albeit he was not drawn thither by personal recollections of former memberships. Dukes, except his Grace of Devonshire, rarely descend on the level of the Lobby, and no Bishop has been seen there since the Bishop of London, looking in surplice and bands after debate in the House of Lords, was accosted by Mr. McClure and genially invited to take a glass of sherry and bitters.



Lord Battersea has rather cut the place in which he long lingered as a Whip, and Lord Dartmouth is not often seen in the place where through many Sessions Lord Lewisham used to walk about, Whips' book in hand, endeavouring to keep a House through the dinner hour. Lord Kensington is a regular frequenter of the Lobby, and instinctively takes his stand near the door leading to the staircase where through many Sessions he kept guard, barring the passage of unpaired members. Lord Kensington is not a man of supercilious manner, but there was something of unmistakable scorn in his eyes when they first alighted on the screen which his successors in the Ministerial Whips' seat last Session introduced. Certainly a searching wind creeps up the staircase from Palace Yard when it is wintry weather. But Lord Kensington sat there from 1880 to 1885 without so much as a rug on his knees. A more degenerate race are inconsolable without some contrivance for warding off the draught. In ordinary circumstances this object might easily be attained. A screen of fair proportions flanking the bench by the Whips' side would be fully effective. But this is the main entrance to the Lobby. A full-sized screen would be impossible. Accordingly, a something has been made considerably too tall for the base upon which it stands. The consequence is embarrassing, sometimes appalling. Either the Thing falls outward when the glass door is opened, scaring the new arrival, or it flops inward, threatening to crush Mr. Causton, and cut off, in its flower, a useful life.



Lord Cranbrook has long got over the habit once dominant of revisiting the scenes in which his political fortunes were established. Lord Denman never had a seat in the Commons, but his sad, grey figure,[Pg 487] crowned with the purple smoking cap, was familiar in the Lobby in the last Parliament. The attraction for him was removed when Mr. Farmer-Atkinson retired from the political stage. In the former member for Boston, Lord Denman found a kindred spirit. They made a pact together whereby the peer was to take charge of the Commoner's Bills when they reached the Upper House, Mr. Atkinson performing a kindred service for his noble friend when his Woman's Suffrage Bill had run the gauntlet of the Lords. It came to pass that opportunity was not forthcoming on either side for fulfilment of this pledge. The Peers would not pass Lord Denman's Bill, nor did the Commons encourage Mr. Atkinson's legislative efforts. Still, they took counsel together, prepared for emergencies. Sometimes they would be found in consultation by the big brass gates that shut off the House of Lords from common people. Oftener Lord Denman, having fuller leisure, sought Mr. Atkinson in the Lobby of the Commons. Beyond particular measures for the good of the country in which they were interested, they cherished a dream of a combination between really sensible men of both Houses, who, rising above party purposes and prejudices, should devote themselves heart and soul to placing the empire on a sounder foundation.

The development of this plan was interrupted by officious friends placing some restraint on the movements of Mr. Farmer-Atkinson, and his (only temporary it is to be hoped) withdrawal from public life.



Lord Herschell, once a regular frequenter of the Lobby, does not often find time to look in now that he is Lord Chancellor, and in addition to the ordinary weighty calls of his office, has in hand the revision of the Commission of the Peace. Another peer, once a constant visitor, who has abandoned the place, is the Earl of Ravensworth. He was long known in the House of Commons as Lord Eslington, a representative of the highest type of county member. When he succeeded to the peerage he spent more time in the Lobby of the Commons than on the red benches of the House of Lords. Whatever the season of the year or the prospect of the weather, he brought his umbrella with him, a heavily constructed article, capable of sustaining the weight of a properly tall man when he leaned upon it, whilst he conversed with a circle of friends.

The only member whose faithful attachment to his umbrella equalled Lord Ravensworth's was the late Mr. Tom Collins. Judging from the shade of the gingham, the determination of the bulge in the middle where it was tied round with a piece of tape, and the worn condition of the ferrule, the umbrella dated back to the epoch of the Great Exhibition. So dear was it to the heart of its owner that he would not risk accident or loss by leaving it to take its chance with the miscellaneous multitude in the cloak-room. Like Lord Ravensworth, he carried it with him in all weathers, and before entering the House to take part in the solemn institution of prayers, he reverently deposited it behind the chair of the principal doorkeeper. Mr. Collins was not a man of abnormally suspicious nature. All his colleagues in the House of Commons were honourable men. Still, human nature is weak. To see an umbrella like that hanging loosely on a peg, or to find it ready to hand mixed up with a lot of ordinary articles, might prove too strong a temptation for a weak brother. Mr. Collins spared many a possible pang by placing his umbrella out of range of casual sight in personal charge of the doorkeeper.



I never saw Lord Salisbury in the Lobby, and do not recall any time when his burly figure was seen looking down from the gallery on the arena in which the first Lord Robert Cecil played a lively part. Earl Spencer comes over occasionally for consultation with his colleagues. Lord Rosebery, with the cares of the Empire on his shoulders, finds time occasionally to look in at the House, for a seat in which, as he has sometimes hinted, he would gladly barter his coronet.

[Pg 488]

A Bohemian Artists' Club.

By Alfred T. Story.

London numbers many societies for artists; but there is not another so quaint in its style and so characteristic in all its methods as the Langham Sketching Club, or, as it is called in brief parlance, and, in fact, more correctly, "The Langham," for the Sketching Club is in reality only a part of the whole. It is a very modest and retiring body, and does not make much ado, or call public attention to itself by the usual and popular methods of gaining notoriety.

These have always been its leading characteristics. It thought so little of itself, indeed, in the first instance that it allowed itself to be ushered into existence in a lowly shed at the bottom of a mews, or in a stonemason's yard, as some say. This humble abode was situated in Clipstone Street, Fitzroy Square, and the society's nativity took place what time the Sailor King ruled the land, some eight years before Her present Gracious Majesty ascended the throne.

It was started by eight men, who wished by co-operation and emulation to improve themselves and each other in the art which they had adopted as their profession; and it is significant of the oddity which has ever characterized the society and its proceedings that, no sooner had the resolution been carried confining its membership to the eight founders, than it admitted a ninth. These nine original members were: W. Kidd, F. Gary, J. C. Zeitter, A. M. Huffam, John Knight, William Purser, William Derby, J. Mimpriss, and William Brough, the latter being the honorary secretary.

According to the rules they framed for their governance, the society was to be "for the study of artistic human figures." It was to meet three times a week, in the evening, and work for a couple of hours. Each member on joining was called upon to subscribe ten shillings; after which, his contribution consisted in paying his share of the expenses. These were totted up at the end of the week, and then and there settled. Fines were imposed for non-attendance, unless the absentee were able to produce good and sufficient reason for his non-appearance; and for a long time to come the chief business of the committee appears to have been to impose these fines, then remit them, or discuss the means of enforcing their payment upon men who were generally light-hearted, except when weighed down by the lightness of their pockets. Peace be to their souls! If there were not many Michael Angelos among them, there was an infinite amount of good-fellowship.

The actual date of this simple and democratic constitution was March 9, 1830; but it had no sooner been framed than—as in the case of another and more famous constitution—it was found necessary to go to work and tinker it into shape and usability. Hence, between then and now, it has undergone many changes, albeit nothing has been done to detract from its broad fundamental characteristics. The club (for such, in fact, it is) may be said to combine the greatest amount of good-fellowship with the least possible restraint by rule and regulation.

A year after the society's foundation a somewhat radical change took place. It had quickly been found impossible to confine its membership to the original nine founders, and the number was gradually increased to fifteen. Now it was decided to divide the society into members and subscribers; the former paying a pound a quarter and constituting the governing body; while the latter paid twenty-seven shillings and had no part whatever in the management—in this also following the example of our national Constitution as it then was.

At first members and subscribers were alike ten in number; but in course of time the members were increased to fifteen, and a larger proportion of subscribers admitted. This rule still obtains. A still further development took place a month or two later, when it was decided to elect a president, the first gentleman to be accorded the honour being Mr. Knight.

Curiously enough, until this time it had never occurred to the members that their society was without a name. The fact having been accidentally discovered, it was resolved to adopt as style and title, "The Artists' Society for the Study of Historical, Poetic, and Rustic Figures."

From time to time the number of evenings devoted to study was gradually increased, until every week-day evening was occupied. Further developments had in the meantime[Pg 489] taken place. In 1841, on the suggestion of William J. Müller, the study of the antique was included in what we may call the curriculum. This involved the renting of another room (the society was still in its mews) at a cost of £25 a year. About the same time the study of the nude was introduced, and became henceforth a leading feature of the society. In 1838 an attempt had been made to form a society for ladies, in conjunction with the Artists' Society, "for the study of costume and the draped figure," but although started with some éclat, it appears before long to have ended without regret a brief and forlorn existence.

We soon begin to come across historical names. In 1835 Haydon presents the society with a drawing of "The Gate Beautiful," by Raphael, made by his pupil, C. Landseer. Mr. D. V. Riviere is elected, also a Mr. F. Cruikshank, though he appears never to have attended. Two years later Mr. E. Corbould becomes a subscriber, and in the year following, the well-known watercolourist, Frank W. Topham, and Mr. W. Riviere. In 1839 Dodgson and Lee were elected subscribers; and the same year the veteran Louis Haghe, still living, was made president.


From the Picture by G. G. Kilbourne

During these early years courses of lectures on various subjects connected with art were given by competent gentlemen. Mr. W. R. Toase, F.L.S., discoursed on "Anatomy," illustrated by living models; Mr. Benjamin R. Green lectured on "Perspective"; Mr. C. H. Smith, on the "Importance of Trifles in Historical Design"; Mr. George Foggo, on "Pictorial Composition"; and last, though not least, a Mr. R. Cull (one fancies there should have been an "s" to this name), on "Phrenology as Applicable to Art." At that time phrenology was in high favour, was patronized by the great and the learned, and generally regarded as going to do wonders. Many artists in those days, Blake and Linnell among the number, devoted some attention to it; but now, with the exception of one leading Academician, it would be difficult to find any artist who had given so much as a passing glance at the science: if they had, we should at least have been spared the sight of such monstrosities of heads as we now see.

In 1841, under the presidency of John Absolon, another veteran member who is still amongst us, it was decided to elect a certain number of honorary members, and Mr. James R. Planché, the dramatist and authority on costume and heraldry, was the first gentleman chosen. In honour of this election a conversazione was held, to which a number of distinguished guests were invited. This was the first entertainment of the kind given by the society. Since then it has become noted for its gatherings of a similar nature.

At one time the rule was to hold one every quarter. This was when the treasury was in good order. When funds were low it was necessary to be satisfied with two, or even one, a year. They were—and are still—the very simplest of affairs, and Bohemian to the[Pg 490] last degree. For this reason it is that they are so much enjoyed by those who have the luck to get an invitation. The invariable fare is bread and cheese and salad—au naturel—with ale and stout ad lib., or, as a facetious member once put it, ad lip. Anything of the nature of ceremony is altogether dispensed with; and as there is always a crush, the feast generally assumes the form of a scramble. City magnates have been known to take part in these sans façon regales, and to confess afterwards that they found them more amusing and enjoyable than a Guildhall banquet; while fashionable R. A.'s and A. R. A.'s have been seen to retire into a corner with a hunk of bread and cheese in one hand and a pot of porter in the other, and set to like costers—showing that we are all built much on the same mould, under the clothes.


Drawn by W. H. Pike.

On these occasions the members exhibit their works—sketches that have been done in the classroom, or pictures destined for one or other of the exhibitions—and receive the useful, and generally very generous, criticisms of their friends. Then, to round off the evening, there are singing, music, and recitations, or it may be a bit of character acting. Once we had the pleasure of seeing a well-known A. R. A. and another equally clever artist dress up from the club wardrobe (which is a rich and varied one) as "Black Sall" and "Dusty Jim," and give an improvised dance, to the infinite delight alike of members and guests.

But—to go back a little—in 1842 the most characteristic feature of all in connection with the society had its beginning, namely, the Sketching Club. This is, in reality, quite distinct from the society, although members may belong to it; but its membership is recruited chiefly from outside, and is practically unlimited. The club meets every Friday evening, a subject—or, perhaps, two—is given, and each artist realizes it as best he can. The sketch has to be completed in two hours, and when the time is up, there is a general examination of work, with free criticism, suggestion, and so forth. They may be done in any manner—in oil, water-colours, black and white, or modelled in clay. It is a capital school; every man is put on his mettle, and, of course, does his best. Not a few pictures, now celebrated, had their beginnings on these evenings.

Work being done, supper is discussed; the fare consisting of a cold joint, bread and cheese, with, of course, ale and stout to wash them down. It is at this time that new members are elected. Before a candidate can be chosen he has to submit a sketch. This is carried round by the honorary[Pg 491] secretary and shown to each member in turn, his vote for or against the candidate being thus taken.

These suppers are always interesting, and sometimes very amusing, as they can hardly help being when so many men of varied talent, and some of absolute genius, are constantly meeting together and exchanging views. Sometimes, while the others are talking, or "chaffing," one member will be quietly jotting down some characteristic faces in his sketch-book, or taking a sly note on his cuff. At other times the fun becomes a little uproarious, and the wildest pranks are indulged in.


Drawn by Robt. Sauber.

On one occasion the late Charles Keene and Mr. Stacy Marks, both of whom were members for many years, had a jumping match. A rod was laid lightly from the rail round which the members work to a box at a height of about three and a half feet from the ground. Marks cleared the rod with ease at a standing jump. Keene, though he tried several times, could not quite accomplish the feat. When he seemed to be on the point of giving up the contest an artist named Wingfield, "a fellow of infinite jest," and a great character to boot, said, very quietly, "Take a pinch of snuff, Mr. Keene; that will enable you to do it." The suggestion was given with such placid sangfroid that it convulsed the room. Keene, however, did not take the hint.

Keene was elected a full member of the society in 1853, though he had already been a subscribing member for several years. He was one of the quietest of men, and seldom had much to say for himself; howbeit, he did occasionally come out with a dry, caustic remark, that told like one of the sly, humorous touches of his pencil; as, for instance, when he bade an old woman who was castigating her ill-mannered donkey, hired for the evening as a model, that she might spare the rod there, as none of them minded his behaviour, because they were not any more thin-skinned than her "moke."

Tenniel, Keene's coadjutor on Punch, was president of the society so far back as 1849.

Among other distinguished or notable men who have been, or still are, members, may be mentioned Mr. Poole, R.A., some of whose sketches are as grand as many of his finished pictures are weak. He was a fellow-member with H. B. Pyne and James Müller. The latter was president in 1844, and died during his year of office, killed, as it was thought at the time, by the scant justice done to him by[Pg 492] the Academy; his works, now so highly esteemed, being invariably "skied." While his pictures now fetch thousands, he died in debt to the society. Alfred Fripp, the watercolour painter, and Fred Goodall became members about the same time. Between 1846 and 1848, Stanfield, junr., W. Goodall, W. Dyce, H. J. Boddington, and A. J. Lewis joined the society, and J. P. Knight, R.A., was elected an honorary member. A little while previously the same honour had been conferred upon Mr. G. Field, the colour manufacturer, and Mr. J. H. Rogers, lecturer on anatomy.


Drawn by J. Finnemore.

In 1860 the society removed from the quarters it occupied in Clipstone Street to its present abode in the Langham Chambers, Portland Place. Of the men who were then members not many are left, but we may name Charles Cattermole, nephew of the famous George Cattermole, and for many years hon. secretary of the society, and J. A. Fitzgerald, son of Byron's "hoarse" Fitzgerald,[1] and almost as noted as his father for his histrionic gifts. Several who were then members have since left, notably Mr. Lawlor, the sculptor, the late Vicat Cole, R.A., and F. Weekes. A. J. Stark also was a member at that time. G. Kilburne joined the society shortly after it removed to Langham Chambers; B. W. Leader, R.A., Henry Telbin, the scene painter, and C. Armitage joined a year later; while between then and 1865, Robert Landells, a man of great ability, who went through the Franco-German War as artist for the Illustrated London News, E. T. Coleman, J. T. Watson, F. Lawson, W. M. Wyllie, G. G. Kilburne, E. Law, the engraver, James Gow, and Fred Barnard became members or subscribers. Later, Sir James Linton joined the society, the late Mr. C. B. Birch, A.R.A., and William Linnell, son of the famous Linnell, and himself a distinguished painter.

[1] See "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers":

Still must I hear? Shall hoarse Fitzgerald bawl
His creaking couplets in a tavern hall?

There is generally, just before "sending-in day," a special conversazione, at which members exhibit their pictures before forwarding them to the Academy to be accepted or rejected. In many cases, of course, this is the only "show" they get; but not a few famous pictures have there been submitted to public criticism for the first time. At one such conversazione Mr. Stacy Marks exhibited his famous "Gargoyle" before it went to the Royal Academy. Mr. Calderon, R.A., thus exhibited his "Coming of Age," and Fred Walker his celebrated "Philip in Church," the picture which was the beginning of his fame. Calderon was a member of the Sketching Club; as was also Mr. Poynter, R.A. Fred Walker was a regular member[Pg 493] of the society. At one time Mr. W. Gilbert, since become famous in another line of art, was a member, though not for long. He had not yet found his true forte, and so was trying his hand with the brush. What he did was chiefly in the comic vein. He was an amusing companion, however, and noted as a raconteur.


An amusing story is told in this connection, albeit not of Mr. Gilbert: At one of the Friday night suppers there was present an artist who had been abroad for some time in connection with one of the illustrated papers. He had been half round the world, and was, naturally, expected to have much to say about his travels. But, no; not a word. "What did you see in China, Mr. Ixe? What in Japan? Did you like the Assyrian maidens, or the Vrows of Batavia?" Thus was he questioned on every side. But, like the needy knife-grinder, he had no story to tell. Meanwhile, at the other end of the table was an artist who had that afternoon been as far as Bedford Park, and was bursting with adventures. "Fitz could make a better book of travels out of a walk up Hammersmith Broadway than Ixe from a tour round the world," remarked one of the wits of the club.


From the Picture by Carl Haug.

This is the time to hear from the artists' own lips their varied experiences—often highly amusing—in the pursuit of their profession. One, who has a supreme hatred of dealers, tells how he once had one delivered completely into his hands, and he did not drown him. He and three others had taken a walk up the Wharfe to enjoy its beauties, one of them being a dealer. The dealer and another eventually found themselves on the wrong side of the stream, far from a bridge, and it was necessary, in order to avoid a long détour, to wade across. The dealer was no longer young, was unused to the water, except as a beverage, being a teetotaler, and feared all sorts of evils as the result of wetting his feet. He managed to get across in safety, however.

[Pg 494]

"He reached our side of the river all right," continued the narrator; "but as the bank was steep, he had to appeal to me to give him a hand up; and I weakly did so, instead of putting a mop on him. I could easily have done so, the water being quite deep enough to put him out of his misery. But I didn't do it. Of course, I felt considerable chagrin when I had let him escape. Then, to make matters worse, he asked me for some of my whisky: he knew I carried a little in a bottle—'for my stomach's sake.' Naturally, having been so weak as to let him get out of the water, I could not refuse the whisky. And what do you think he did? He washed his feet with it to prevent him catching cold! I implore of you, should it fall to the lot of any of you to have your enemy delivered into your hands in that way, do not do as I did, but put a mop on him."

It is only needful to begin storytelling in this way to bring out an endless variety. The mention of the Wharfe reminded one man of a deep pool below a waterfall on a northern stream, where he had a most gruesome experience. He had planted his easel, and was beginning to work upon the scene—the waterfall, the black pool, dark surrounding trees, and a blurred and reddening evening sky—when suddenly he perceived a dark object bobbing up and down just in front of the fall. Up and down it danced with the motion of the water, gyrating slowly at the same time. At first he thought it must be a dead dog; then it dawned upon him—and the thought produced an uncanny feeling—that it might be a man's head. Suddenly a stronger wave, a more violent gyration, and there was no longer any doubt. A man's face, with its dead, glassy eyes and streaming hair, was presented to his gaze—and he instantly sprang to his feet and ran, leaving easel, canvas, palette, and brushes to take care of themselves.

Another man tells how, when he was busy upon a choice bit of landscape, a couple of yokels approached, and, after watching for a short time, moved off, remarking that it was a pity such a broad-shouldered fellow could not find something better to do than waste his time like that.


Drawn by W. A. Breakspear.

Naturally, there are some stock anecdotes told of fellow-members, which never cease to create a laugh. One hears of the sculptor[Pg 495] who, having been too deep in his potations, made his way home late at night with a large codfish under one arm and a lobster under the other, and who found them lying in bed beside him when he awoke in the morning.


Drawn by Robert Sauber.

Another artist, presumably in a similar condition of benignity, arriving home very late, softly unlocks the street door, goes up stairs, very softly enters his bedroom, and undresses—very softly, so as not to disturb his wife, and finally creeps into bed—likewise very softly and gently; to be startled by his better half asking him—very softly and gently, no doubt—if he is aware that he has got into bed with his top-hat on!

One member always raises a hearty laugh by his imitation of a brother member—a man of the greatest good humour, but of third-rate ability—who, debating with another artist on the great Whistler question, thus sums the matter up: "If Whistler is right, then you, and me, and Michael Angelo are all wrong."

Sometimes in this way one may pick up some interesting anecdotes of the men of a past generation. Holland, the famous landscape painter, who was once a member, used to have many anecdotes about Turner. On one occasion he was sitting near to him at dinner, when a lady observed to him that she admired his pictures very much, although she could not say that she understood them. "Don't you wish you had the brains to do so?" replied Turner—a little rudely, it must be confessed.


Drawn by W. Douglas Almond.

[Pg 496]

Members take it in turns to "set" the models, who generally pose for an hour, then take a short rest, and afterwards sit for another hour. They are placed on a raised platform under a top light, the artists being ranged in a semicircle facing them. No one is allowed to speak to the model except the member whose duty it is to set him or her, and the utmost silence is enjoined. Some of the models take great interest in the work of the artists, and like to see what they have made them look like. Many curious characters are found amongst them, and the stories of their humours and oddities are endless and infinitely diverting.

Not the least amusing is that of the man who had posed for apostles and saints so long that he could not be induced to sit for a common coster.

"It would be such a come-down, sir," he said, with a rueful countenance. There is also a story—possibly apocryphal—of a model who had got beyond sitting deploring his changed estate, in that he who had sat for "lords and cardinals" was reduced to "wet-nursing a kangaroo" (having obtained employment at the Zoo).

But perhaps the best story of a model is one that used to be told by Sir Edwin Landseer. It concerned a man named Bishop, a man who will be remembered by nearly all the older generation of artists. Bishop was a bit of a favourite with Landseer, and often sat for him. Once when so employed he thus addressed the famous animal painter: "Sir Ed'n," said he, "I sees from the papers as you of'n dines with Her Gracious Majesty at Buckingham Palace, and as you gets on very well wi' her. Now, Sir Ed'n, I've been a-thinking—if you wouldn't mind the trouble—you might do me and my misses a very good turn—a very good turn, you might. You know, Sir Ed'n, my misses is a rare good washer, and if, next time you dines with Her Majesty—just when you gets cosy like, arter dinner—if you would just pervail on her to give my misses her washing, it would set us up, it would. Now, Sir Ed'n, you'll pard'n me for a-mentionin' of it, but if you could do that for us, we'd take it very kind like."

It is not stated whether the request was ever put to Her Majesty.


From a Photo by Scott & Sons, Exeter.

It would be unpardonable to conclude without making mention of some of the artists who are at present members, many of whose names are doubtless familiar to readers of the illustrated papers and periodicals, or from their pictures in the exhibitions. Among the number may be noted W. Breakspear, Dudley Hardy, Robert Sauber, George C. Haité (president of the Sketching Club), Bernard Evans, J. Finnemore, W. Pike, Edward C. Clifford, and W. Douglas Almond—the last two holding the positions respectively of honorary secretary and curator of the society.


From a Photo by Russell & Sons.

All the artists whose drawings have been used to illustrate the above article are members of the Society or of the Sketching Club, or both.

[Pg 497]

Portraits of Celebrities at Different Times of their Lives.


Born 1847.

AGE 11.

From a Daguerrotype.

AGE 20.

From a Photograph.

AGE 32.

From a Photo, by Sutcliffe, Whitby.


From a Photo by Elliott & Fry.

The Rev. Canon Henry Scott Holland was born at Ledbury, Herefordshire, and was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford. He was ordained at Cuddesdon in 1872, and was afterwards Theological Tutor at Christ Church. In 1882 he was appointed Canon of Truro and Examining Chaplain to the Bishop, and in 1884 was made Canon of St. Paul's. Canon Holland has published several volumes of sermons, an article on "Justin Martyr" in the "Dictionary of Christian Biography," and an essay in "Lux Mundi."

[Pg 498]


Born 1847.

AGE 17.

From a Photo by Hills and Saunders.

AGE 21.

From a Photo by Hills & Saunders, Eton.

AGE 38.

From a Photo by Russell & Sons, Baker Street.


From a Photo by Elliott & Fry.

The right Hon. Archibald Philip Primrose, Earl of Rosebery, LL.D., P.C., was born in London, and received his education at Eton, our first portrait showing him at that time. He was appointed Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department in August, 1881. He resigned the Under-Secretaryship in 1883 and became First Commissioner of Works. In 1886 he was appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and succeeded Mr. Gladstone as Prime Minister in March of this year.

[Pg 499]


Born 1828.

AGE 25.

From a Photo by Maull & Fox.

AGE 33.

From a Photo by Disderi, Paris.

AGE 48.

From a Photograph.

AGE 55.

From a Photo by H. J. Whitlock, Birmingham.


From a Photo by Elliott & Fry.

The Hon. Sir Alfred Wills entered the Middle Temple, by which Inn he was called to the Bar in 1851. He was made a Q.C. in 1872, and was appointed Judge in 1884. He was made President of the Railway Commission in 1888. Mr. Justice Wills was one of the founders, and is one of the six remaining original members, of the Alpine Club, and nearly all the happiest recollections of his life are connected with the Alps, and more especially with his own Alpine home.

[Pg 500]


Born 1843.

AGE 12.

From a Daguerreotype by Antoine Claudet, 107, Regent Street, W.

AGE 17.

From a Photo by Antoine Claudet, 107, Regent Street, W.

AGE 37.

From a Photo by John Watkins, Parliament Street, W.


From a Photo by Dickinson, 114, New Bond Street, W.

The Right Hon. Sir Chas. Wentworth Dilke, Bart., was born at Chelsea September 4, 1843, being a grandson of Charles Wentworth Dilke, the critic. He was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge; he graduated as senior legalist in January, 1866. In the same year he was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple. In 1868 he published a book in two vols., "Greater Britain: A Record of Travel in English-speaking Countries During 1866-67," which deals with his observations during his travels round the world. In 1868 he was elected as Radical member for Chelsea. Among his many legislative achievements was the creation of School Boards directly elected by the ratepayers. In December, 1882, he was made President of the Local Government Board, with a seat in the Cabinet. In 1885 he married Mrs. Mark Pattison. In 1887 he published "The Present Position of European Politics"; in 1888, "The British Army," and in 1890, "Problems of Greater Britain." In the General Election of 1892 he was returned M.P. for Forest of Dean.

[Pg 501]


AGE 2.

From a Painting by Miss Atkins.

AGE 10.

From a Painting by W. B. Scott.

AGE 25.

From a Painting by Victor Pollet.


From a Photo by Elliot & Fry.

Lady Dilke (née Emilia Frances Strong), daughter of Major Henry Strong, H.E.I.C.S., was born at Ilfracombe in 1842. She was educated by Miss Bodwick, sister of the celebrated African traveller, and received much friendly teaching in drawing from Mr. Mulready, R.A. She married first, in 1862, the Rev. Mark Pattison, Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford (who died on July 30th, 1884); and secondly, in 1885, the Right Hon. Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke, Bart. Lady Dilke was long a writer in the Saturday and Westminster Reviews, and afterwards, on the foundation of the Academy, she edited the Art section for one or two years, and also supplied original articles during that time. In 1879, Lady Dilke published a work in two volumes illustrated by herself, and entitled "The Renaissance of Art in France." In 1881 she wrote a biography of Sir Frederick Leighton for the series of "Modern Artists," edited by Mr. Dumas; and in 1882 she lectured at the Birmingham and Midland Institute on "The Industrial Policy of Colbert." In 1884 she published in French, through the Librairie de l'Art, a monograph on Claude. Lady Dilke subsequently published "The Shrine of Death," a volume of stories, in 1886, and "Art in the Modern State," in 1888. In subsequent years she contributed several stories to the Universal Review, and wrote in the Fortnightly Review and the New Review on Trade Unions for Women, in which she takes a deep interest.

[Pg 502]

The Oxford and Cambridge Union Societies.


By J. B. Harris-Burland.

The Oxford Union Society is one of the two most important debating clubs in England, the other being the sister Society at Cambridge. It has been estimated that nearly a fifth of the present House of Commons, and a very considerable number of the House of Lords, have aired their early efforts in the great debating hall in New Inn Hall Street. It might not be uninteresting to our readers to know something of the school in which so many distinguished speakers have been trained.

As the United Debating Society, its foundation dates from 1823; but in 1825 it was broken up to exclude turbulent members, and reconstituted under its present name. It is nominally a social club, with reading, writing, billiard, dining, and smoking rooms, and a good library of 25,000 volumes. But its true importance lies in the debates which are held once a week in term time.


From a Photo by C. Court Cole, Oxford.

The new debating hall is an exceedingly fine room, lit with the electric light, and decorated with the portraits of the distinguished men who have filled the President's chair, and presented by themselves. There are two of Mr. Gladstone, one as the "rising hope of those stern and unbending Tories," and one as the great leader of the Liberals of England.

At one end of the hall three chairs of carved oak are raised on a daïs, the central one higher than either of the others. Here sits the President, with the Treasurer and Librarian on either side of him, and the Secretary at a table at his feet. An electric bell is fixed to the President's chair, with which he warns speakers that their allotted time is drawing to a close. Members have been known to speak for twenty minutes without launching into their subject, so the bell is not without its use.

The gallery is reserved for visitors, chiefly ladies, and is crowded on the night of an important debate. It has a reputation of being unsafe, and whenever it is unusually full, someone is sure to rise in private business and ask if any steps have been taken to strengthen it. The alarm of the fair occupants is only allayed by the assurance of its complete stability.

The Society consists of over 900 subscribing and 20,000 life members. Its officers are elected by ballot, and canvassing is strictly forbidden on pain of a heavy fine. It seems, however, to be a disputed point as to what constitutes canvassing. There is considerable keenness at election time, which occurs every term. The Librarian and Junior Treasurer hold office for a year; the President, Secretary, and members[Pg 503] of Standing and Library Committees, for a term only.


From a Photo by C. Court Cole, Oxford.

As the money which the Society receives and spends is no small sum, it has been thought advisable to have as a permanent Senior Treasurer one who does not come and go as undergraduates do. So the £3,000 odd, which comes in yearly to the funds, is watched over by a Don. He is, however, only a servant of the Society, and has no power of himself. Nominally politics have nothing to do with the voting, and the officers are often men of different views, but in reality the political clubs of the 'Varsity exercise no mean influence on the ballot. However, popularity and distinction are still of the most weight, though it was said that one club "ran" the elections for several years, and it is curious to note that the last-elected President, Librarian, and Junior Treasurer all belong to the same club.

The conduct of debates is as follows: The names of four members, generally speakers who are known to have some ability, are printed on the bills that are posted throughout the 'Varsity. It is etiquette for these four and also for the officers of the Society to wear evening dress. Only these four have a certainty of a place in the debate. The first two may speak for twenty-five minutes, and the other two for twenty minutes apiece. Those who follow have only fifteen minutes, and have to jump to their feet to catch the President's eye. Some who have prepared speeches never get a chance of firing them off.

MR. F. E. SMITH, President Lent Term, 1894.

From a Photo, by Gillman, Oxford.

Before the true work of the evening begins, private business is discussed. This is the recognised hour of amusement, and members can achieve no small reputation by excellence in the asking of ridiculous questions. Many of these are personal. A young earl, who occupies the President's throne, is chaffed about a certain celebrated pill because the maker's name resembles his own. The Treasurer is worried about new billiard balls, accommodation for dogs, and his portrait in[Pg 504] the Lady's Pictorial when he came of age; the Librarian about the contents of some strange book; the Secretary about his handwriting. Lately the World's Fair at Chicago asked the Union to send two of its members to the Show, but stipulated that they must be of the "highest moral and social standing." The discussion lasted several evenings as to who was fit, what the delegates would be required to do, and what they would be paid. It was finally decided that no one person could combine the two qualities. Such discussions as these occupy the lighter moments of the Society.

Then the debate of the evening begins: sometimes it is good, sometimes bad—more[Pg 505] often indifferent. Occasionally there is an orator of unusual brilliance and power, and then the hall is crowded; but as the evening wears on members drop out one by one, and someone moves that the question be now put.

Occasionally distinguished visitors are asked to speak, and then more than ordinary interest is shown. Last year, Lord Winchilsea joined in a debate on the state of agriculture, and spoke for over an hour. He met with hearty support, but also candid criticism, and he defended his scheme with great good humour and ability. Thus the undergraduates have all the advantage of discussing leading questions with recognised[Pg 506] authorities on the subject, and the speaker has the opportunity of influencing an audience that is larger than it looks, and which is certainly one of more than average intellect. It is, moreover, considered to be no small honour to be invited to speak at the Oxford Union. And politicians find it a profitable way of spreading their views. The undergraduates disperse and influence many districts, and many, in a few years, will be themselves members of Parliament. We are able to give a reduced facsimile of two pages of signatures of old members who met for the 50th Anniversary Dinner, among which we find many of the most famous men now living.


Almost every subject under the sun has been dissected in this Society. The Home Rule Bill met with the fate it was afterwards destined to receive at the hands of the Lords. In some ways the result of the voting in the Union is not entirely without importance. It shows the current of thought among the future politicians of England.

The style of oratory has been condemned by outsiders as unsound. Great importance is attached to brilliant epigrams and incisive phraseology. Mere solidity and strength of argument produce more yawns than applause. So it is said that the real object of debate is lost sight of, and that flashy oratory takes the place of sound reasoning. There is some truth in this, and probably the most popular speakers at the Union will not become the[Pg 507] leaders of Parliament. But, after all, it is in speaking and not in thinking that young men need practice. When they are older they will think more and speak less.

The Presidency is one of the most highly-prized distinctions at the 'Varsity, and one which a man may well be proud of in after life. And this is not to be wondered at when we find among the list of those who have held the office the names of Mr. Gladstone, Cardinal Manning, Archbishop Tait, Lord Selborne, the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava, the late Dukes of Cleveland and Newcastle, the late Earl Beauchamp, Viscount Sherbrooke, Lord Coleridge, Mr. Goschen, the Right Hon. H. Asquith, Samuel Wilberforce, the late Bishop of Durham, the Bishops of Peterborough and Chichester, and a host of lesser celebrities, such as deans, Under Secretaries of State, heads of colleges and public schools, judges, etc. Such a list of ex-Presidents could hardly be found in any debating society in the world. The Oxford Union Society is justly proud of them.

The preceding page from the minute-book kept by Mr. Gladstone when Secretary is extremely interesting. It will be noted that the motion was introduced by Mr. Gladstone himself and carried by a majority of one vote, Mr. Gladstone being careful to note that the circumstance was greeted with "tremendous cheering" and "repeated cheers."


By St. J. Basil Wynne Willson, M.A.

In 1886, in a speech made at the opening of the new buildings, the late Duke of Clarence said: "The Union affords, not only opportunities for social intercourse, but it is of great service for reading and study, and in many cases has given the first lessons to men who have afterwards ranked among our greatest orators." It is largely a comfortable club, but primarily it is a debating society, and it is as such that its history is of interest.

To discover the origin of the institution we must go far back to the year 1815, when, in the big room of the Lion Hotel in Petty Cury, three earlier societies combined in one Union. The large, bare room, with its tables dinted by the "firing" of glasses at many a Masonic dinner, forms a striking contrast to the fine buildings with handsome apartments and club-land luxuries in which the present generation revels. Founded by men known afterwards as Lord Langdale, the Hon. Sir E. Hall Alderson, the Right Hon. Sir F. Pollock, and the Hon. and Very Rev. H. Pakenham, the Society was happy in its early auspices, and often since in the Presidential chair have sat men who shed on it such lustre that they now draw some light therefrom.


From a Photo by Messrs. Stearn, Cambridge.

After a short sojourn at the Lion, the[Pg 508] Society moved to the present A. D. C. Theatre, and in 1850 migrated again to a disused Wesleyan chapel in Green Street, where now is heard the click of billiard balls instead of the voice of preacher or orator. In thrifty years a Building Fund was amassed, and in 1866, Charles W. Dilke being President, the bulk of the present buildings was erected at a cost of £10,700. Since that time there have been added the laboratory block in 1882, and the north wing, containing the library, in 1885. The illustrations must be left to describe the appearance and size of the chief rooms, of which successive Vice-Presidents have increased the comfort and splendour, electric light and a luncheon-room being amongst the latest additions.

The library contains 25,000 volumes, covering a large range of literature, but omitting three of Zola's works. However, "to provide a library and reading-room" is only the secondary object of the Union: its chief design always has been and is "to hold debates," and it is for oratorical merit that the President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Committee of six are terminally elected. It is as a debating society that it has a claim to fame. That the elect of the Union are often also the elect of the outer world, the following account will, I think, show.


From a Photo, by Messrs. Stearn, Cambridge.

In 1816 W. Whewell, a late Master of Trinity, was President. His was a stirring reign on account of the strained relations between the Union and the University authorities, who seem to have maintained a paternal government in those days, looking with suspicious eyes on the young innovators who met once a week to discuss men and manners. During a debate, on March 24th, 1817, on the condition of the Army, a dramatic and almost tragic event took place. Enter on a sudden the Proctors, attended by bull-dogs: dim light, slow music and many excursions and alarums, whilst the President in a stern voice bids strangers withdraw. The intruders demand the dispersion of the meeting and the termination of discussions. The result was that a deputation was sent to the Vice-Chancellor to bear him a remonstrance, "consistently with perfect obedience to University discipline." The deputation "believed that the Vice-Chancellor interfered, owing to the circumstance of having received a letter from one of the members, stating that the studies of himself and of his friends had been checked and their prospects blighted by attention to the Society." The Vice-Chancellor curtly replied: "I do not think it necessary or, perhaps, proper to return any answer to this statement. I had considered the matter fully in my own mind."

Thus the Society was crushed for a time, but in 1821 re-asserted itself, on the understanding that no questions of theology or of politics except of a date previous to 1800 should be discussed. The result was that contemporary politics were debated under a thin disguise of similar circumstances in the past.

Macaulay and Praed were frequent speakers. The former upheld Hampden, Burke, and the study of fiction; whilst the latter opposed him on the subject of Burke, but showed admiration for the conduct of Napoleon—of course, "previous to 1800." They both declared against armed interference in France in 1792, Charles Austin and Alex. Cockburn being on the other side. On this occasion Macaulay made a speech, of which the late Lord Lytton wrote:—

"The greatest display of eloquence that I[Pg 509] ever witnessed at that club was made by a man some years our senior, the now renowned Lord Macaulay, and it still lingers in my recollection as the most heart-stirring effort of that true oratory that it has ever been my lot to hear, saving perhaps a speech delivered by Mr. O'Connell to an immense crowd in the open air. Macaulay, in point of power, passion, and effect, never equalled that speech in his best days in the House of Commons."

E. Strutt (Lord Belper), Macaulay, and Cockburn all supported the reform of the Commons at the end of the last century. Cockburn and Lytton prevailed on the House to carry a motion "that a systematic opposition to the measures of an administration is beneficial to the country." A great debate of this period had for its subject "that the Constitution of America is more favourable to the liberties of the people than that of England." Macaulay, Praed, and Cockburn approved, and were carrying the House with them, when up rose Lytton so eloquent and persuasive that he won his case for England by 109 votes to 37. In Mr. Skipper's pamphlet may be found the following interesting description of the Society in "an unpublished squib," written at this time by Praed:—

The Union Club, of rhetorical fame,
Was held at the Red Lion Inn;
And there never was lion so perfectly tame,
Or who made such a musical din.
'Tis pleasant to snore, at a quarter before,
When the Chairman does nothing in state;
But 'tis Heaven, 'tis Heaven, to waken at seven,
And pray for a noisy debate.

The question is Reform, and after the opener has addressed the House, Lytton's rising is thus described:—

Then the Church shakes her rattle and sends forth to battle
The terror of Papist and sinner,
Who loves to be seen as the modern Mæcenas,
And asks all the poets to dinner.

After one speaker has intervened, Macaulay rises:—

But the favourite comes with his trumpet and drums
And his arms and his metaphors crossed,
And the audience, O dear! vociferate Hear!
Till they're half of them deaf as a post.

Macaulay's speech is thus summarized:—

Similes of wondrous length.
Ancient Romans, House of Commons,
Clever Uriel and Ithuriel,
Good old king, everything.

And Charles Austin rises:—

Then up gets the glory of us and our story,
Who does all by logic and rule,
Who can tell the true difference 'twixt twopence and threepence,
And prove Adam Smith quite a fool.


From a Photo by Messrs. Stearn, Cambridge.

Passing on, we come to the era of Trench, Sunderland, Monckton Milnes (late Lord Houghton), S. Walpole, and Arthur Hallam. This is mainly a literary period. Although Tennyson was a member of the club, he does not seem to have taken part with his friend in any debates.

Milnes and Hallam both spoke in contention of Wordsworth's superiority to Byron, but a majority of twenty-seven gave the palm to "Childe Harold's" author. Trench (Archbishop) propounded the original question: "Will Mr. Coleridge's Poem of the 'Ancient Mariner' or Mr. Martin's Act tend most to prevent cruelty to animals?"

There is an episode of this time that has a peculiar interest. It was, as the late Cardinal Manning described it, "a passage of arms got up by the Eton men of the two Unions."

[Pg 510]


On March 26th, 1829, Cambridge sent to Oxford a deputation consisting of Monckton Milnes, Arthur Hallam, and Sunderland, whom Milnes, when Lord Houghton, once declared to be "the greatest orator I think I ever heard, who only lives in the memory of his University." The relative merits of Byron and Shelley were the subject of discussion.

The Cambridge men were entertained by Sir Francis Doyle and "a young student named Gladstone." S. Wilberforce was in the chair. Our champions spoke for the claims of Shelley, and so telling was their oratory that Oxford sat silent and awestruck, until a young man with a slight, boyish figure arose and turned the whole tide of discussion by a speech of much grace and eloquence. His name was Manning. He has himself described the occasion: "I can, however, well remember the irruption of the three Cambridge orators. We Oxford men were precise, orderly, and morbidly afraid of excess in word or manner. The Cambridge oratory came in like a flood into a mill-pond. Both Monckton Milnes and Arthur Hallam took us aback by the boldness and freedom of their manner. But I remember the effect of Sunderland's declamation and action to this day. It had never been seen or heard before among us—we cowered like birds and ran like sheep. I acknowledge that we were utterly routed." "The Oxford men didn't seem to know who Shelley was; they thought he was Shenstone," was a remark that Lord Houghton once made to Mr. Oscar Browning, my informant.

In an interesting little book, called "Conversations in Cambridge," published in 1836, there are preserved some criticisms of the Union of the period.

"The Union—a word requiring no explanation to any member of the University—reached an elevation in those days which it is not likely soon to recover. Macaulay with his flashes of vigorous imagination; Praed with his graceful irony and poetical fancy; and many others whose names live in the memory of their companions, imparted an unusual charm to its meetings."

But, better still, there are some fragments of speeches made by Macaulay, in debates on Cromwell, Strafford, and Milton. The following is an extract from the speech on the Protector:—

"I stand not here, sir, to-night, as the advocate or panegyrist of that melancholy domestic tragedy, which was presented before this afflicted nation in that tempestuous season. But, sir, I would ask: was there no provocation, no exaction, no insult to the dignity of man; no invasion of the sanctity of a Briton's fireside? Sir, the grave of Hampden has a voice: let it answer for me! Tyranny had dashed its mailed hand upon the mouth of every freeman; the lifeblood of the laws was drained out by unnumbered wounds."

About 1848, Mr. Childers, Sir W. V. Harcourt, and Sir Fitzjames Stephen were contemporaries. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke against the ballot, and with Sir Fitzjames Stephen opposed a motion that asked the House to declare that "Mr. Cobden and his party represent the rising good sense of the people." In 1855, H. Montague Butler and J. E. Gorst were respectively President and Treasurer. Gorst gained the chair in 1857. The next most interesting group of Union "lights" is that which includes George O. Trevelyan, H. C. Raikes, Oscar Browning, and H. and A. Sidgwick.

Mr. O. Browning says: "I remember in '56 sitting in the room in Green Street ('cavernous tavernous' as Lord Houghton called it), thinking of nothing in particular, when I suddenly awoke and heard a pleasing voice saying some of the cleverest things I ever heard. It was G. O. Trevelyan. When his speeches were prepared they were brilliant. He was the hero of the great 'smoking-room question,' and headed the opposition to the scheme. In an excited peroration he produced a black clay pipe in one hand and some red tape in the other, declaring them to be the symbols of the parties, and then proceeded dramatically to snip the red tape to pieces. It was Tre[Pg 511]velyan who was compelled to move the suggestion-book temporarily, for at that time it was the receptacle of homeless jokes, doggerel verses, and scurrilous remarks, of which 'You rib-nosed baboon,' and 'Why not make Raikes Lord Mayor?' are examples."

In that brilliant periodical of one number, the Bear, Trevelyan has burlesqued one of his own speeches amongst others. The motion is to repair the Society's clock.

"This is no measure for the purpose of pampering an over-fed clerk, or stuffing our shelves with Puseyite novels. But let them not think they have gained the confidence of the House. Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. (Loud cheers from a Freshman, who seems to recognise the quotation.) Shall we trust our clock to a committee reeking with Ruskin? To an embryo architectural society?... Whom shall we dare trust? There they will sit, grinning at their new clock—(a cry of 'Question'). Question?—(and the speaker turned to the Treasurer, who was lolling alone on the opposite sofa). There you sit compact, united—mouthing and blustering about Tennyson and Carlyle, and nobody cries 'Question'; and if he does, he is snubbed by a partial President. (Great confusion, and cries of 'Sit down,' 'Chair.')"

MR. CATHREW FISHER, President Lent Term, 1894.

From a Photo by the London Stereoscopic Co.

Passing reluctantly over Lord E. Fitzmaurice, A. S. Wilkins, A. W. Verrall, J. E. C. Welldon, R. C. Lehmann, we come, in 1880, to an interesting figure—J. K. Stephen, who re-appeared in Union life in recent years, and scribbled off some of his Calverleian lines whilst sitting on the Committee bench. On one occasion in his later years he came into the House when one of many brilliant sons of a brilliant ex-President had proposed nationalization of land. At the first opportunity he rose, exclaiming:—

"I have not heard the speech of the honourable proposer, and I am very glad I have not heard it. All I am come down here to do is to deny that there can be any connection between his premisses and his conclusions: conclusions which can only be reached by a total want of knowledge, based upon an absolute ignorance of facts."

J. K. Stephen made many great speeches shortly before his death, and an eminent M.P., Q.C., remarked, when he heard him, that after Gladstone he was the greatest orator in the country.

Another incident of late years is worth recording as evidence of the dangers of debate. During a big debate on the opium question, a prominent anti-opiumist was speaking against the traffic to a crowded House. Whilst discussing the treaties with China, he noticed a man opposite vehemently dissenting, and at last remarked, "I don't know who the hon. member is, but I can quote the authority of Sir Thomas Wade, who made the treaties." After him the "gentleman opposite" arose, and, revealing himself as Sir Thomas Wade, proceeded to make much mincemeat.

Owing to pressure of space, many well-known ex-Presidents and officers have been passed by unnoticed: C. Rann Kennedy (Pr. 1832), Lord Henniker (Pr. 1834), Sir W. F. Pollock (Pr. 1836), Bishop Ellicott (Pr. 1839), Prof. C. Babington (Pr. 1845), Lord R. A. Cross (Pr. 1845), Rev. Ll. Davies (Pr. 1847), Hon. A. Gordon (Lord Stanmore) (Pr. 1849), Henry Fawcett (Pr. 1855), Dr. Henry Jackson (Pr. 1864), and a long list of others, statesmen, clergy, scholars, lawyers, whose early development it would be interesting to trace.

It may not be out of place here to publish some reminiscences most kindly sent by a distinguished ex-President, Sir Charles Dilke:—

"If somebody of the time were to talk to me about it (the Union), I have no doubt my reminiscences would flow. At the present moment, with the exception of my own[Pg 512] disrespectful allusions in Prince Florestan of Monaco.... I remember nothing except the terrible noises that my friends used to make over my head when I was President in the old room in Green Street. I often threatened to have the gallery cleared, but as I had not the physical force at my command to sweep them out, they used to sit on the ends of the tables with disastrous effect. The first speech in the Union which I remember was one when I was a Freshman, by Mr. George Trevelyan. He declared amid a tremendous storm of cheers, in reference to the Government of the United States: 'That Union, Mr. President—that Union has no Building Fund.' The Cambridge Union in those days possessed a handsome Building Fund, which I forthwith spent, and the result of the spending of which, and the borrowing of much more, is visible in the present building."

Another old President (who wishes to be anonymous) says:—

"In '57 or '58 Trevelyan began to make a reputation, and perhaps still more the American, Everett, with a really remarkable force which he has still.... Fawcett spoke often; harshly and loud, but very ably. Vernon Lushington was forcible, but not suave enough. Gorst (now Sir J.) spoke well, but without much power. Ernest Noel (late member for Dumfries) once or twice delighted us with a clear and cultured fluency that we were not accustomed to. It shows the alteration of the times that a sort of thrill of horror ran round the House when in one debate he actually mentioned that he was not a member of the Church of England.... We used not to imitate the ways of the House of Commons very closely, with the idea that it might be bad taste, and that we had traditions of our own to be proud of."

MR. OSCAR BROWNING, Treasurer of the Cambridge Union.

From a Photo by Branfort, Birmingham.

Forty-five members of the Society are in the House of Lords, including the Prince of Wales and the two Archbishops, and 58 in the Commons. Our present-day debates, held once a week, are dignified and orderly. They last for about two and a half hours, the proposer and opposer occupying usually an hour between them. The private-business meetings are generally more scenic, especially when we discuss Zola or finance. A noticeable feature is the number of Orientals who take part, and a very able, eloquent part too, in our debates. One has risen to the Chair. The future historian will be at little trouble for material, for the Cambridge Review and the Granta, in different styles, record each debate and change. Out of 237 Presidents, Trinity has provided 132 and St. John's 29.

The members of the Society are increasing, and between 400 and 500 new members are enrolled annually. There is no exclusiveness and all types of University life are represented.

Our relations with our younger Oxford sister are excellent. From term to term there is an interchange of speakers between the two clubs.

In conclusion it may be said that, great as the past has been, the future should be none the less brilliant. The usefulness of such an institution is obvious. In 1994 it may be that the names that will be honoured in an article in a flourishing Strand will be those of men whose promise is now so great, and whose friendship so many of us value now so highly.

[In compiling this Article I have drawn much information from "A Short History of the Union," by J. F. Skipper, Esq., B.A., ex-President. I would here acknowledge the great courtesy of those distinguished old members who have contributed reminiscences. Owing to the kind permission of the President, Vice-President, and Librarian, I have had access to all the documents of the Society. The Chief Clerk has also given me much valuable assistance.—St. J. B. W. W.]

[Pg 513]

Illustrated Interviews.



From a Photo by Elliott & Fry.

At St. John's Wood. Time—Present Day.

The Modern Mathews Mr. Charles Wyndham.
Interviewer Harry How.
Coachman, Parrot, Dogs, etc.

Scene I.Entrance-hall leading to corridor. Stained glass windows. Grandfather's clock ticking away in the corner. Autographed portrait of Prince of Wales. Pictures of Corney Grain and George Grossmith. Millais' "Widow's Mite." Liston as "Moll Flannagan" and "Mawworm." Numerous fine oils, including a sea piece by Weber. David Garrick by Vandergucht. Fred Barnard's "Garrick." Old armour picturesquely arranged. Bronzes in cosy niches, etc.

The Modern Mathews enters by rushing downstairs. He is tall and strongly built, character is written on every feature of his face, his curly hair has not a single silver streak in it, his appearance suggests all that is genial, good-natured, frank, and thorough. Speaks deliberately and very rapidly, says much in as few words as possible—in short, a man who trips through life with a light step, a happy disposition, and a pleasant way of doing and saying all things.

The Modern Mathews (taking last three steps at a bound and "discovering" Interviewer): Ah! there you are! What a foolish remark. Of course you're there. Have a cigarette? Now, where's my case? M.C.—my case! Capital way of remembering anything that, eh? See? M.C.—my case, my cigar, my canary, Master of Ceremonies! I find it infallible. I've got a shocking memory, so must have some system to go upon. Where is that cigarette case? Bad memory for simple little things like that, but I never forget my parts. Now, that's curious. Can remember a long part, but can't remember where I put that confounded cigarette case. Will find it yet. Come into the dining-room.

[Pg 514]


From a Photo by Elliott & Fry.

By a special journalistic contrivance—a contrivance which for rapidity of change of scene has never been approached on the stage


From the Photo by Elliott & Fry.

Scene II.Dining-room. Massive and substantial oak furniture. Birch's statuette of The Modern Mathews as David Garrick near the window. The walls are covered with exquisite examples of Reamore, Toulmonche, Ethoper, &c., views of Spain, Venice, and all places suggestive of sunshine and dark-eyed maidens, having for companion canvases pictures of English rural life, Scotch cattle, Welsh valleys, and Irish lakes.

The Modern Mathews (aside): M.C.! M.C.! M.C.!

Interviewer: And you never forget your parts?

The Modern Mathews: Oh! I beg your pardon. Now, if you hadn't spoken I should have found that case in another minute! No, I've never forgotten a part since I was dismissed by Mrs. John Wood in New York in 1864. It was the first time I ever played an important part, and I had a very long speech to make. This speech always frightened me—it was a perpetual nightmare. I used to dream about it, breakfast with it, lunch, tea, dine, and sup with it. When the eventful night came I found myself only thinking of the words instead of their meaning. I had to give a glowing description of a young girl's beauty, crying out: "Drunk with enthusiasm, I exclaimed," etc., etc., etc. I had reached the word "Drunk," when all became a blank. I repeated the word two or three times, and finally went for it with "Drunk—I exclaimed—happy the being," etc.! I was dismissed.

(Barking heard off. Dogs rush on.)

The Modern Mathews: My dogs! Call them after the characters I play.[Pg 515] Come here Davy—that's Garrick. I adopt the same plan with my horses. I've got a parrot upstairs—Cockie. You should see Davy and Cockie fight. Cockie's got a prize-fighter's nose—Davy broke it for him. Come upstairs.


From a Photo by Elliott & Fry.

Again by the same arrangement we are transported to

Scene III.Sitting-room. Full of pictures of friends, presents, and pleasant memories. Cockie is in cage on table. Here a most scientific onslaught between parrot and dog takes place—of course, only playfully and purely in innocent fun—and owing to the favour with which it is received, the proper action of a little life-drama is delayed for a quarter of an hour.

The Modern Mathews (suddenly jumping up): Ha! there it is! there it is!

Interviewer: Good gracious! Anything wrong?

The Modern Mathews: Wrong, no—everything's right. My cigarette case (holds it up gleefully). Now, then—have a cigarette?

(Lights up!)

Interviewer (suggestively): M.L.! M.L.! M.L.!

The Modern Mathews: No, I've nothing as I can remember associated with M.L.

Interviewer: M.L.—my life!

The Modern Mathews: All right, tell us all about it!

(Interviewer is not prepared to "gag" back.)

Interviewer: You were born——

The Modern Mathews: Oh! I see. Certainly, certainly—but—it's a long speech—a speech, however, I don't think I shall ever forget. We always remember ourselves, eh? and forget O.P., which means other people, or opposite prompter. (Sits in armchair L. of fireplace.) I was born in Liverpool on the 23rd of March, 1841. My father was a doctor—he only died a year or two ago. My mother gave me my first lessons, until at ten years of age I was sent to school at Sandgate. There I took a great liking for drawing—particularly for building castles in the air! I imbibed a love for the stage before I knew the value of words, and used to revel in acting to myself before a looking-glass. I left Sandgate when I was about twelve and went to St. Andrews, and there I was the cause of public censure, as it was said I was demoralizing all the boys on account of my strong theatrical tastes. Major Playfair—the grandfather of Arthur Playfair, the actor—had a private theatre near my school, and I need hardly say how I used to revel in being permitted to attend there. But it came to an end at last. I used to write very bloodthirsty dramas, and myself and companions used to play them in our bedrooms by candle-light. We were, however, discovered, and the curtain fell with a thud. I was at St. Andrews for two years. I took a prize for Latin, and always those for elocution. I ran away from St. Andrews once, but having no money in my pocket I went back the next day. I remained there until I was fifteen, when I was sent to Germany—to Neuwied first, and Bonn afterwards. You would scarcely credit it, but there I became a very dreamy fellow.

Interviewer: Dreamy?

The Modern Mathews: Yes, I[Pg 516] became quite a religious enthusiast, and founded a Church.

(Interviewer surprised—but he must save his energies to be more so later.)

The Modern Mathews (solemnly): Whilst I used to play with my companions, I was always much impressed by a long-legged, lanky-looking fellow, who used to walk up and down the playground with his eyes on his boots. I got in with him, found he belonged to a well-known Wesleyan family, and we founded a Church to reform the boys. The masters lent us a room, and starting with half-a-dozen we ultimately got twenty-five lads. When my Wesleyan friend left I became head of the Church. In the college was the son of a celebrated divine in London—whom we will call B. He was a very bad lot, using very bad language. One day he asked me to let him join the Church. I hesitated. Told him I'd take a fortnight to decide. I did. It came to my turn to preach. B. was present. My sermon was directed to him. After it was all over he came to me and assured me he was a changed man. I was delighted. He grasped me by the hand and said he should like to preach on the following Sunday! I assured him that it was the rule for only four or five of us to preach. He thought an exception ought to be made in his case. I would not hear of it. "Look here," he said, "won't you let me preach?" "No, I could not." "Do you mean it?" he asked. "I do." "Without a doubt, Wyndham?" "I am immovable." "Then," he said, "go to ——!"

(Quick Curtain!)


From a Photo by Elliot & Fry.

Scene IV.Drawing-room. A beautiful set. By the door is a fine bear's skin, the animal having been shot by the actor's son on his ranch in Colorado. The china and articles of vertu are as rare as they are valuable. The pictures tell of the artistic discrimination of their possessor. The mementos are many—a harp of roses and forget-me-nots, with a gold plate inscribed: "Au grand Comédien Charles Wyndham, Hommage d'Admiration un Parisian, 1889," is given a prominent place. An exquisite silver sledge was from friends in St. Petersburg, and a massive silver cup bears the inscription: "To Charles Wyndham, from Albert Edward Prince of Wales, in remembrance of 'David Garrick,' at Sandringham, 7th January, 1887."

The Modern Mathews (handling cup): The Prince is one of the most perfect stage managers conceivable. He made all the arrangements for the production of "Davy" at Sandringham. (Takes up an inkstand in the shape of horse's hoof.) One of my mares—poor thing! I always kill my horses when it has come to their last trot, and never sell them when they are past all work.

Interviewer inwardly—on behalf of the public—votes The Modern Mathews a thoughtful man in all things.

Interviewer (insinuatingly): And you——

The Modern Mathews: Oh! yes. Germany fifteen months; then to Paris. Occasional theatre. Had to be home by eight! Locked out one night—one sou left. Put it on a gingerbread board gamble. My sou on biggest piece. Round went the spinner—stopped at my piece. Won! Only gamble I ever won in my life. Walked that night till six in the morning; managed to get into the school. Met head master whilst creeping upstairs. He commended me for my early rising! From Paris to King's College as a medical student. Ha! no sooner there, than able to go to[Pg 517] theatre. Got to Cabinet Theatre, King's Cross, in amateur performances. There I first met William Blakeley, an admirable comedian, who in those days was a slim, thin, dashing young fellow. I was not long in making up my mind. I would go in for tragedy, I was so impressed with Barry Sullivan; though I fancy on looking back that Charles Mathews attracted me most, although I never dreamed of becoming a light comedian. What a voice Charley had, how perfect his every movement! The marvellous charm of that man was his extreme naturalness. How well I remember waiting for him at the stage door to watch him come out! No one who ever saw Charley could forget him. Dear old Mathews!

Interviewer (noting down the great similarity between the actor's description of Mathews and himself): And your first real appearance?


From a Photograph.

"CHARLEY GARNER" (Mr. Chas. Wyndham).

"MRS. GARNER" (Mrs. Dyas).

"MR. KEDGELY" (Mr. John Clayton).

"LUCY" (Miss H. Hodson, Mrs. Labouchere).

"MRS. PELLET" (Miss Everard).

"MICHAEL GARNER" (Mr. J. L. Toole).

"UNCLE BEN" (Mr. Lionel Brough).

"BOB GASSITT" (Mr. Henry Irving).

The Modern Mathews: At one of the Ash Wednesday performances by Cole at the Haymarket Theatre. I played Captain Murphy Macguire in "The Serious Family," and John Clayton was the Charles Tarcus. I often played with Clayton. He and I were in the cast of "Dearer Than Life," at the Queen's Theatre, in 1868, together with Toole, Irving, Lionel Brough, and Henrietta Hodson (Mrs. Labouchere). I paid a guinea to play Macguire, and it was worth more to me, for I was soon after playing with Buckstone, and then made my first dash on at the Royalty at £1 a week, when Ellen Terry and I used to play lovers. But one of my great desires was to play Rover in "Wild Oats." I made up my mind to do it as soon as I saw Phelps in the part at Sadler's Wells. I had £30, and meeting another young fellow with a similar sum, we began to negotiate for the Strand Theatre, then under the management of Mr. Payne. But our hopes were crushed, as a slight barrier cropped up in the way of rent. Payne wanted £60 a week rent, and three months in advance. By this time I was ashamed of myself, although I had an offer of twelve shillings a week at the Theatre Royal, Preston—which, probably, I never should have got! I wrote to my father. He was[Pg 518] somewhat wroth when I told him my theatrical desires. He said: "Well, take your diploma, and I won't interfere." I accepted the bargain, finished my medical studentship, went to Dublin—took my diploma. I had almost abandoned the idea of going on to the stage, and 1863 found me on my way to America to the war. I left with £9 in my pocket! It was the dad's suggestion I should go, but I believe he did it with a breaking heart. Look at that! (Takes a massive gold ring set with a single diamond, and passes it to Interviewer.) Why, the old fellow came over to America whilst I was there. When he was leaving the docks, he threw this, wrapped up in a piece of paper, on to the quay. My eyes were fixed on my father. There was he, making frantic gesticulations and pointing. I thought the piece of paper a greenback, and refused to pick it up. At last he became almost frantic in his anxiety. I picked up the paper, and there was that ring in it. The old fellow went away happy. This diamond and sapphire ring was given to me by the Czar. Not a bad ring, eh? Look at it. (Interviewer does so, and unconsciously puts it on finger!)


(Wild Oats.)

From a Photo by the London Stereoscopic Co.

(Interviewer is busy for the next ten minutes in noting small "asides," thrown in between whiffs of cigarette: "£250 a year as medical officer." "In several engagements." "Did fairly well." "Have a cigarette?" "Appeared with Mrs. John Wood in New York." "Six weeks." "£4 12s. a week." "Dismissed for incompetency." "Came home." "Met amateur friends again." "Engaged at Royalty." "£4 a week." "Leading light comedy and stage management." "Offer from Miss Herbert to go to St. James's. Went. Miss Herbert, Irving, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Mathews, Stoyle, Ada Cavendish there, and—Oh! that first night.")

The Modern Mathews crosses to table L., and taking up an edition de luxe of a commemorative volume of the Clover Club, reads the story which he told ten years ago of that first night. His back is to the fireplace (CENTRE), the book in one hand leaves the other free for action. He reads and remembers.

"The piece was an adaptation of Ouida's 'Idalia.' I was playing the hero, Hugh Stoneleigh; a young actor named Charles was Victor Vane; Miss Herbert (long since retired) was Idalia; and Henry Irving was the villain of the play, Count Falcon. In those days, by-the-bye, managers would insist upon casting me for the virtuous heroes, and Irving for the vicious ones, although our proclivities in no way justified the selection. But what a charming villain Irving was: the only actor I have ever seen who has been able to make villainy on the stage appear as it should appear—lovable. But to resume: The opening scene was a rocky defile, in which I was suddenly attacked by Irving, and left for dead. The stage-manager had[Pg 519] outshone himself in the production of a grandly impressive scene, in which the demands of realism were observed by the introduction of a natural waterfall: descending from the flies at the side, passing under a massive bridge, and rushing wildly and obliquely across the stage. It was certainly a gorgeous scene; an inspiring one, bound to elicit uproarious approval. Well, on the first night it did, and during the rest of the evening that waterfall was never forgotten. I told you it was supposed to dash under a massive bridge (which, by-the-bye, sloped down towards the footlights, in full view of the audience); but stage-managers propose, and waterfalls dispose. It was its first appearance on any stage, and, like most beginners, it wanted to do too much: it not only dashed under the bridge, but it trickled over the bridge; and, on its passage across the stage, it oozed from its proper channel, in several independent little rivulets, down towards the footlights. Wherever that inexperienced water went, it left the stage slippery. Thunders of applause greeted the enthusiastic débutant, and all the time the traitor was preparing for the annihilation of his brother artists. Gracefully down the bridge came F. Charles. He touched the slippery part of the bridge, threw his arms out wildly, away went his cloak into the torrent, and—well, he sat down. With dramatic instinct in every nerve of his body, firmly entered, half a minute afterwards, Henry Irving; looked about him warily; then strode down the bridge—you know the stride—till he also reached the fatal spot, threw his arms wildly round, and—well, he sat down. Need I tell you that the awe of the situation was fading? Now came my turn. Standing on a platform behind the scene from the commencement, I had seen what had happened to my two friends; so, stepping gingerly down the bridge, I arrived on the stage without sitting down, had my encounter with the two ruffians, escaped from them, had run wildly up the bridge again to receive the shot from Falcon's pistol, and had fallen, according to stage-manager's instructions, a foot or so below the treacherous spot. On came Idalia—she had heard the shot. 'Ah! a body on the bridge!' She runs down, recognises me—'Great heavens, 'tis he!'—rushes further down, reaches the fatal place, away go her arms, and—well, she sat down: the folds of her dress falling over me and completely hiding me from the view of the audience. That was the end of the act—it was a powerful one. We had all done our level best, but the waterfall had scored the most.


From a Photograph.

"The next scene[Pg 520] was a simple drawing-room. The waterfall was gone, thank Heaven, and we could rely upon ourselves. The act began. It was interesting and dramatic: a powerful scene between Miss Herbert and Irving—accusation of murder, defiance, vengeance for my death—all very startling; sufficiently so to drive for the time the slippery knave from everybody's mind. A great scene, well acted and well received; everything going splendidly, and an effect in store bound to please the audience.

"The hero is not dead, for he suddenly appears; appears, as a hero always does, at the back of the stage; great applause at his resuscitation; Miss Herbert backs with joy and surprise right to the footlights, and I prepare to rush towards her; success is in our grasp; the audience are in splendid humour; spite of all difficulties, we have triumphed. Alas, the vanity of human hopes! The waterfall was lying in wait for me. I told you the scene was a drawing-room; but I did not tell you that it was an Italian one—consequently, that the carpet covered only the centre of the stage. Across it I madly rushed towards my faithful love. 'Idalia,' I exclaimed, 'I never expected to see you again!'—reached one of those rivulets, that had trickled in exactly the same direction I was going—reached it unknowingly—slipped, and—well, I sat down.

From a Photo by Falk, New York.


"Never in the whole course of my life have I heard such a roar as went up from that auditorium.

"Need I go on? Need I tell you how, in the next scene, when she and I were supposed to be escaping from the Austrian soldiery, those brave heroes came on, and, as the first slipped over our general enemy, the others came tumbling after? How massive rocks were knocked over by the falling bodies, and how the second act terminated in convulsions on the part of the audience? Need I tell you that, in the last act, the actors had become through sheer helplessness as demoralized as the audience—that I assured my love, in a voice smothered by laughter, that nothing would shake my firmness of belief in her—that she chuckled out she believed me—or that Irving came on to die in a white shirt, a blood-red spot on his breast, and his face all grins, dying the most facetious death actor ever died? Oh, that night—that night of horrors!"


Scene V.The street. A very, very desirable residence, with well-laid-out grounds in rear. Brougham waiting. (It is not intended to attempt to describe the extraordinary mechanical methods employed to bring about this sensational change of scene, seeing that a journey is about to be made from St. John's Wood to the Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly. It is unnecessary and useless, for no theatrical manager, be he professional or amateur, would attempt it.)

The Modern Mathews leads the way down steps followed by Interviewer.

The Modern Mathews (aside to Interviewer): Have a good look at the coachman on the quiet. (Interviewer does so. Both enter brougham.)

[Pg 521]


From a Photo by Falk, New York.

(Mr. William Blakeley).

(Mr. Chas. Wyndham).

The Modern Mathews: Whom do you think he was coachman to?—(whispers)—Byron!

Interviewer: What—Henry—Henry J.?

The Modern Mathews: Yes, dear old "Our Boys" Byron. He was with him for seven years. I've had him since. Poor old Byron! What a wit he was. He joked to the last—almost his last breath was a joke. He wrote "Fourteen Days" for me. He was very bad—had a consumptive cough when the play was finished. He would persist in reading it to me. It was heartbreaking. When he was dying we used to drop in and sit with him, and take him little delicacies. Just before he had been doing work for Hare and Kendal at the St. James's. I went in one day, and there was a fine hare by his side. "Hare sent it to me," he said. "It's so big that I thought Kendal was inside!" Dear old Byron!

(A pause.)


From a Photo by Falk, New York.

(Miss Kate Rorke).

(Mr. Wyndham).

The Modern Mathews (with gaiety a trifle forced): Let me see—where were we when we left the house? Paradoxical that, eh? Oh! yes—I remember—of course.[Pg 522] Well, after playing about for some years, at last came a moment when I seemed to be on the horns of a dilemma. I had just advanced beyond the position of a stock actor, and hadn't achieved any particular individual reputation—that is, I felt unless I adopted some special line managers wouldn't offer me engagements. One morning—I was playing at Brighton—at breakfast I had three telegrams in succession. One read: "Would you accept an engagement at a West-end theatre to manage it yourself?" A second—from T. E. Smale: "Would you like a theatre in London? I can find money for it." And a third from Alexander Henderson: "Could you open at Criterion in 'Brighton' next Monday?" This seemed direct. I rushed to town. Henderson said: "Rare chance. If open next Monday—can have theatre rent free!"

Interviewer: Of course——?

The Modern Mathews: Yes—I went! Played a month. Went to Paris. Returned at Easter. Opened in "The Great Divorce Case," and I started with the principle of making it a farcical comedy theatre. Made a contract with Henderson for seven years. This was in 1—8—7—6. Always a good memory for dates of that kind. "Pink Dominos!" Forced on me—absolutely forced on me. "The Great Divorce Case" was free to anybody to use, and when I produced it I wrote to the authors in Paris telling them I was prepared to pay them. A week or two after they sent their agent to me, saying that the same authors had just produced a piece in Paris and would like me to have it. It very much resembled "The Great Divorce Case," you know; and, on this basis, I refused it. They sent three or four times. At last I bought it for a mere song—I didn't want it—£40 down and £1 a night for a hundred nights!


From a painting by John Pettie, R. A.

(By kind permission of Mr. T. McLean, 7, Haymarket, S. W.)

(Interviewer excited. More so when The Modern Mathews encourages him to take to playwriting as a profession by remarking, with a glorious twinkle in both eyes: My half share of the profits was £15,000! Interviewer accepts another much-needed cigarette!)

Interviewer (breaking the silence): "Where's the Cat"?

The Modern Mathews: Very decent spec. Gave £25 for it!

Interviewer: Why, it's all profit!

The Modern Mathews (wisely): But, I have given thousands for plays, and all turned out no good!

Interviewer: And "David Garrick"?

The Modern Mathews (merrily, for he revels in talking about his favourite character): Ah! "Davy"! I produced "Davy" in '86. I was about to produce a farcical comedy, and, as a matter of fact, had got within two days of the advertised first night—indeed, it came to within forty-eight hours of the time—when I became convinced that it was no use. On the Friday I frankly issued an announcement stating that I had no confidence in the piece. It was a toss-up between "Brighton" and "Wild Oats." Eventual decision—"Wild Oats." A great success—Miss Mary Moore and David James secured a big triumph.

Interviewer: And yourself?

[Pg 523]

The Modern Mathews: Well, I played Rover. Up to this moment I had made up my mind never to play any part of Sotheran's or Charles Mathews', and when Mr. Calmour suggested my playing "David Garrick," I told him this. Others suggested "Davy," too, and finally Clement Scott, one night at supper, talked me into it. I was very nervous of "D.G." on the first night, because I had altered the intention of the dramatist in the second act by taking it more seriously. At one time I began to rehearse it with all the nonsense out of it, but finally decided to curtail the original "business" so as not to disappoint lovers of the old version. It ran from November, 1886, to August, 1887. I have revived it every year since, and so far as paying business goes, "Pink Dominos" is not in it. Ah! here we are. Come into my cabin.


From a Photo by Barraud, London.

Brougham stops at theatre. The Modern Mathews and Interviewer ascend a somewhat steep flight of stairs leading to

Scene VI.A cabin. It is really an apartment fitted up exactly like a cabin on a wealthy man's yacht. Not a detail is missing. Even the portholes are there, and you peep out on to a sea of carriages, cabs, vans, and pedestrians. Luxuriously furnished. Table centre: papers scattered about, designs and estimates for scenes—one at a trifle above £1,000—huge pile of letters.

The Modern Mathews (very busy—here, there, and everywhere): Excuse me—M.L.! No, no—not my life—finished with that; my letters! (Opens one—reads.) Look at that. (Hands letter.) Fellow wants two for the dress circle. Has no claim on the theatre save his "great love for the drama!" (Opens another letter.) Ah! nicely scented envelope. (Reads): "Dear sir, will you send us two seats for the matinée on Saturday? A gentleman friend told us you always give seats away. We want to come to the afternoon performance, because ma hates theatres, and won't let us go if she can help it!"

Interviewer: Encouraging!

The Modern Mathews: D.C., my boy, D.C.!

Interviewer: So you're going to send them?

The Modern Mathews: Send what?

Interviewer: The seats—D.C.—dress circle?

The Modern Mathews: D.C.—D.C. in this instance is to remind me that it's deuced cheek! Oh! I give them occasionally. I remember once a couple of seats I gave to a policeman. When I am studying a part I like to take long walks in the country—down the lanes. On one occasion I was learning up my character in Gilbert's play of "Foggerty's Fairy." In the last act I am supposed to be mad. On the other hand, I maintain that the keepers appointed over me are mad and not I. I have to describe a murder I am supposed to have committed, and to go through all the details of the crime. This I did once in a secluded nook in the Hampstead Woods—giving it forth at the top of my voice, thoroughly entering into the spirit of the business. A policeman caught sight of me. He had evidently been watching me for some time. Suddenly he made for me, seized me by the collar, and said he should charge me at the station on my own confession! It took a long time to explain[Pg 524]—but I succeeded eventually in putting matters straight with the aid of a sovereign and a couple of seats for the first night of "Foggerty"!



Taken on the stage of Criterion Theatre at night by Mr. John F. Roberts.

Enter Clerk with more letters. Interviewer suggests he shall return in the evening. Mutual consent. A wait of three hours till

Scene VII.The Modern Mathews's dressing-room at the Criterion Theatre. A comfortable little apartment, with speaking-tubes connecting with all parts and all officials of the theatre. A small window—with a blind—opens on to the stage, so that its occupant can see exactly what is going on on the boards, and knows when to prepare to enter.

The Modern Mathews discovered.

Enter Interviewer.

The Modern Mathews: Ah! there you are! Foolish again. Made the same remark this morning when we met—didn't I? Mustn't say it again. (Pencils memory initials on shirt-cuff to this effect.) I've only just got here. That confounded cigarette case—couldn't find it again, M.C. stands for too many things: shall have to invent another plan. I've got it. Always smoke! Eh?—then I shan't have to worry about it! I'm never here till it's time to walk on. Wigs? Never wear 'em. Never so good as your own hair. I never wore a wig for "D.G.," always had my hair dressed. Much better. Excuse me—I'm on.

(Rushes on to stage. The scenery needed here is somewhat elaborate, but it is journalistically adjusted particularly for this occasion. Shouts of laughter. Laughter ceases. The Modern Mathews comes in at the same rate as he departed.)

The Modern Mathews: America! Yes, been there professionally three times. Wonderfully patient people. One night I was timed to appear at a certain theatre at eight o'clock. Breakdown on the line. Didn't get to playhouse until half-past nine. Expected to find the theatre empty. Audience had waited until nine o'clock without showing a sign of being fidgety. Manager went before the curtain saying he had received a telegram from me explaining the circumstances, and stating I should shortly arrive. So the sufferers held on another half-hour, when they began to file out of the theatre. We met them all coming out. "Here we are. Here we are again. Go back! We've arrived!" and go back they did! Ten minutes afterwards the curtain had gone up on the first act of the play. Excuse me! M.P. my part!

(Rapid exit. Rattles off M.P. and returns as merrily as before.)

[Pg 525]


(Still Waters Run Deep.)

From a Photo by Barraud, London.

The Modern Mathews: Americans never grumble. They kept a train waiting for four hours and a quarter for us one night, and the passengers as well! But the passengers only grumbled in the right direction. They thought it a bit too bad, because if they had known the cause of the long wait, they might have gone to the theatre!

Then their double E's—enormous enterprise. Once we had to wait for four-and-twenty hours to catch a train. A manager came to see me, and pressed for a performance, at which the prominent citizens of the town would be present. I consented. No time to post bills—they sent out runners. I went down to see the hall. Not a seat in the place! "Don't you worry about that, you'll find all the chairs there to-night." And so I did, sure enough. When I arrived in the evening the hall was half full of chairs of all shapes and sizes. Camp stools, piano stools, three-legged stools, drawing-room, dining-room, kitchen chairs—in fact, anything on which one might sit down. I couldn't understand it. I was informed that it was a rule of the theatre that everybody who purchased a seat should provide his own! The place at night was packed—the approaches to the theatre being crowded with contingents of families entering the place, followed by Negro servants carrying half-a-dozen chairs on their shoulders. I'm wanted on again. What, are you off?

(Interviewer takes off his finger the Czar's ring shown to him a few hours before, and in shaking hands with the actor artfully slips it into his open palm.)

The Modern Mathews: Halloa, what's this? Good gracious—my ring! M.R.; M.R.! I must remember that in future! I thought at first it was a tip for the interview!



(School for Scandal.)

From a Photo by Barraud, London.

[Pg 526]

Martin Hewitt, Investigator.

By Arthur Morrison.


Almost the only dogmatism that Martin Hewitt permitted himself in regard to his professional methods was one on the matter of accumulative probabilities. Often when I have remarked upon the apparently trivial nature of the clues by which he allowed himself to be guided—sometimes, to all seeming, in the very face of all likelihood—he has replied that two trivialities, pointing in the same direction, became at once, by their mere agreement, no trivialities at all, but enormously important considerations. "If I were in search of a man," he would say, "of whom I knew nothing but that he squinted, bore a birthmark on his right hand, and limped, and I observed a man who answered to the first peculiarity, so far the clue would be trivial, because thousands of men squint. Now, if that man presently moved and exhibited a birthmark on his right hand, the value of that squint and that mark would increase at once a hundred or a thousand fold. Apart they are little; together much. The weight of evidence is not doubled merely; it would be only doubled if half the men who squinted had right-hand birthmarks; whereas, the proportion, if it could be ascertained, would be perhaps more like one in ten thousand. The two trivialities, pointing in the same direction, become very strong evidence. And when the man is seen to walk with a limp, that limp (another triviality), reinforcing the others, brings the matter to the rank of a practical certainty. The Bertillon system of identification—what is it but a summary of trivialities? Thousands of men are of the same height, thousands of the same length of foot, thousands of the same girth of head—thousands correspond in any separate measurement you may name. It is when the measurements are taken together that you have your man identified for ever. Just consider how few, if any, of your friends correspond exactly in any two personal peculiarities." Hewitt's dogma received its illustration unexpectedly close at home.


The old house wherein my chambers and Hewitt's office were situated contained, beside my own, two or three more bachelors' dens, in addition to the offices on the ground and first and second floors. At the very top of all, at the back, a fat, middle-aged man, named Foggatt, occupied a set of four rooms. It was only after long residence, by an accidental remark of the housekeeper's, that I learned the man's name, which was not painted on his door or displayed, with all the others, on the wall of the ground-floor porch.

Mr. Foggatt appeared to have few friends, but lived in something as nearly approaching luxury as an old bachelor in chambers can live. An ascending case of champagne was a common phenomenon of the staircase, and I have more than once seen a picture, destined for the top floor, of a sort that went far to awaken green covetousness in the heart of a poor journalist.

[Pg 527]

The man himself was not altogether prepossessing. Fat as he was, he had a way of carrying his head forward on his extended neck and gazing widely about with a pair of the roundest and most prominent eyes I remember to have ever seen, except in a fish. On the whole, his appearance was rather vulgar, rather arrogant, and rather suspicious, without any very pronounced quality of any sort. But certainly he was not pretty. In the end, however, he was found shot dead in his sitting-room.

It was in this way: Hewitt and I had dined together at my club, and late in the evening had returned to my rooms to smoke and discuss whatever came uppermost. I had made a bargain that day with two speculative odd lots at a book sale, each of which contained a hidden prize. We sat talking and turning over these books while time went unperceived, when suddenly we were startled by a loud report. Clearly it was in the building. We listened for a moment, but heard nothing else, and then Hewitt expressed his opinion that the report was that of a gunshot. Gunshots in residential chambers are not common things, wherefore I got up and went to the landing, looking up the stairs and down.

At the top of the next flight I saw Mrs. Clayton, the housekeeper. She appeared to be frightened, and told me that the report came from Mr. Foggatt's room. She thought he might have had an accident with the pistol that usually lay on his mantelpiece. We went upstairs with her, and she knocked at Mr. Foggatt's door.

There was no reply. Through the ventilating fanlight over the door it could be seen that there were lights within, a sign, Mrs. Clayton maintained, that Mr. Foggatt was not out. We knocked again, much more loudly, and called, but still ineffectually. The door was locked, and an application of the housekeeper's key proved that the tenant's key had been left in the lock inside. Mrs. Clayton's conviction that "something had happened" became distressing, and in the end Hewitt prised open the door with a small poker.


Something had happened. In the sitting-room Mr. Foggatt sat with his head bowed over the table, quiet and still. The head was ill to look at, and by it lay a large revolver, of the full sized Army pattern. Mrs. Clayton ran back toward the landing with faint screams.

"Run, Brett," said Hewitt; "a doctor and a policeman!"

I bounced down the stairs half a flight at a time. "First," I thought, "a doctor. He may not be dead." I could think of no doctor in the immediate neighbourhood, but ran up the street away from the Strand, as being the more likely direction for the doctor, although less so for the policeman. It took me a good five minutes to find the medico, after being led astray by a red lamp[Pg 528] at a private hotel, and another five to get back, with a policeman.

Foggatt was dead, without a doubt. Probably had shot himself, the doctor thought, from the powder-blackening and other circumstances. Certainly nobody could have left the room by the door, or he must have passed my landing, while the fact of the door being found locked from the inside made the thing impossible. There were two windows to the room, both of which were shut, one being fastened by the catch, while the catch of the other was broken—an old fracture. Below these windows was a sheer drop of 50ft. or more, without a foot or hand-hold near. The windows in the other rooms were shut and fastened. Certainly it seemed suicide—unless it were one of those accidents that will occur to people who fiddle ignorantly with firearms. Soon the rooms were in possession of the police, and we were turned out.

We looked in at the housekeeper's kitchen, where her daughter was reviving and calming Mrs. Clayton with gin and water.

"You mustn't upset yourself, Mrs. Clayton," Hewitt said, "or what will become of us all? The doctor thinks it was an accident."

He took a small bottle of sewing-machine oil from his pocket and handed it to the daughter, thanking her for the loan.

There was little evidence at the inquest. The shot had been heard, the body had been found—that was the practical sum of the matter. No friends or relatives of the dead man came forward. The doctor gave his opinion as to the probability of suicide or an accident, and the police evidence tended in the same direction. Nothing had been found to indicate that any other person had been near the dead man's rooms on the night of the fatality. On the other hand, his papers, bank-book, etc., proved him to be a man of considerable substance, with no apparent motive for suicide. The police had been unable to trace any relatives, or, indeed, any nearer connections than casual acquaintances, fellow club-men, and so on. The jury found that Mr. Foggatt had died by accident.

"Well, Brett," Hewitt asked me afterwards, "what do you think of the verdict?"

I said that it seemed to be the most reasonable one possible, and to square with the common-sense view of the case.

"Yes," he replied, "perhaps it does. From the point of view of the jury, and on their information, their verdict was quite reasonable. Nevertheless, Mr. Foggatt did not shoot himself. He was shot by a rather tall, active young man, perhaps a sailor, but certainly a gymnast—a young man whom I think I could identify, if I saw him."

"But how do you know this?"

"By the simplest possible inferences, which you may easily guess, if you will but think."

"But, then, why didn't you say this at the inquest?"

"My dear fellow, they don't want my inferences and conjectures at an inquest, they only want evidence. If I had traced the murderer, of course then I should have communicated with the police. As a matter of fact, it is quite possible that the police have observed and know as much as I do—or more. They don't give everything away at an inquest, you know—it wouldn't do."

"But if you are right, how did the man get away?"

"Come, we are near home now. Let us take a look at the back of the house. He couldn't have left by Foggatt's landing door, as we know; and as he was there (I am certain of that), and as the chimney is out of the question—for there was a good fire in the grate—he must have gone out by the window. Only one window is possible—that with the broken catch—for all the others were fastened inside. Out of that window, then, he went."

"But how? The window is 50ft. up."

"Of course it is. But why will you persist in assuming that the only way of escape by a window is downward? See, now, look up there. The window is at the top-floor, and it has a very broad sill. Over the window is nothing but the flat face of the gable-end; but to the right, and a foot or two above the level of the top of the window, an iron gutter ends. Observe, it is not of lead composition, but a strong iron gutter, supported, just at its end, by an iron bracket. If a tall man stood on the end of the window-sill, steadying himself by the left hand and leaning to the right, he could just touch the end of this gutter with his right hand—the full stretch, toe to finger, is 7ft. 3in.; I have measured it. An active gymnast, or a sailor, could catch the gutter with a slight spring, and by it draw himself upon the roof. You will say he would have to be very active, dexterous, and cool. So he would. And that very fact helps us, because it narrows the field of inquiry. We know the sort of man to look for. Because, being certain (as I am) that the man was in the room, I know that he left in the way I am telling you. He must have[Pg 529] left in some way, and all the other ways being impossible, this alone remains, difficult as the feat may seem. The fact of his shutting the window behind him further proves his coolness and address at so great a height from the ground."

All this was very plain, but the main point was still dark.

"You say you know that another man was in the room," I said; "how do you know that?"

"As I said, by an obvious inference. Come now, you shall guess how I arrived at that inference. You often speak of your interest in my work, and the attention with which you follow it. This shall be a simple exercise for you. You saw everything in the room as plainly as I myself. Bring the scene back to your memory, and think over the various small objects littering about, and how they would affect the case. Quick observation is the first essential for my work. Did you see a newspaper, for instance?"

"Yes. There was an evening paper on the floor, but I didn't examine it."

"Anything else?"

"On the table there was a whisky decanter, taken from the tantalus stand on the sideboard, and one glass. That, by-the-bye," I added, "looked as though only one person were present."

"So it did, perhaps, although the inference wouldn't be very strong. Go on."

"There was a fruit-stand on the sideboard, with a plate beside it, containing a few nutshells, a piece of apple, a pair of nutcrackers, and, I think, some orange peel. There was, of course, all the ordinary furniture, but no chair pulled up to the table except that used by Foggatt himself. That's all I noticed, I think. Stay—there was an ash-tray on the table, and a partly-burned cigar near it—only one cigar, though."

"Excellent—excellent, indeed, as far as memory and simple observation go. You saw everything plainly, and you remember everything. Surely now you know how I found out that another man had just left?"

"No, I don't; unless there were different kinds of ash in the ash-tray."

"That is a fairly good suggestion, but there were not—there was only a single ash, corresponding in every way to that on the cigar. Don't you remember anything that I did as we went downstairs?"

"You returned a bottle of oil to the housekeeper's daughter, I think."

"I did. Doesn't that give you a hint? Come, you surely have it now?"

"I haven't."


"Then I shan't tell you; you don't deserve it. Think, and don't mention the subject again till you have at least one guess to make. The thing stares you in the face—you see it, you remember it, and yet you won't see it. I won't encourage your slovenliness of thought, my boy, by telling you what you can know for yourself if you like. Good-bye—I'm off now. There is a case in hand I can't neglect."

"Don't you propose to go further into this, then?"

Hewitt shrugged his shoulders. "I'm not a policeman," he said. "The case is in very good hands. Of course, if anybody comes to me to do it as a matter of business, I'll take it up. It's very interesting, but I can't neglect my regular work for it. Naturally, I shall keep my eyes open and my memory in order. Sometimes these things come into the hands by themselves, as it were; in that[Pg 530] case, of course, I am a loyal citizen, and ready to help the law. Au revoir."

I am a busy man myself, and thought little more of Hewitt's conundrum for some time—indeed, when I did think, I saw no way to the answer. A week after the inquest I took a holiday (I had written my nightly leaders regularly every day for the past five years), and saw no more of Hewitt for six weeks. After my return, with still a few days of leave to run, one evening we together turned into Luzatti's, off Coventry Street, for dinner.

"I have been here several times lately," Hewitt said; "they feed you very well. No, not that table"—he seized my arm as I turned to an unoccupied corner—"I fancy it's draughty." He led the way to a longer table where a dark, lithe, and (as well as could be seen) tall young man already sat, and took chairs opposite him.

We had scarcely seated ourselves before Hewitt broke into a torrent of conversation on the subject of bicycling. As our previous conversation had been of a literary sort, and as I had never known Hewitt at any other time to show the slightest interest in bicycling, this rather surprised me. I had, however, such a general outsider's grasp of the subject as is usual in a journalist-of-all-work, and managed to keep the talk going from my side. As we went on I could see the face of the young man opposite brighten with interest. He was a rather fine-looking fellow, with a dark though very clear skin, but had a hard, angry look of eye, a prominence of cheek-bone, and a squareness of jaw that gave him a rather uninviting aspect. As Hewitt rattled on, however, our neighbour's expression became one of pleasant interest merely.

"Of course," Hewitt said, "we've a number of very capital men just now, but I believe a deal in the forgotten riders of five, ten, and fifteen years back. Osmond, I believe, was better than any man riding now, and I think it would puzzle some of them to beat Furnivall as he was at his best. But poor old Cortis—really, I believe he was as good as anybody. Nobody ever beat Cortis—except—let me see—I think somebody beat Cortis once—who was it, now? I can't remember."

"Liles," said the young man opposite, looking up quickly.

"Ah, yes—Liles it was; Charley Liles. Wasn't it a championship?"

"Mile championship, 1880; Cortis won the other three, though."

"Yes, so he did. I saw Cortis when he first broke the old 2.46 mile record." And straightway Hewitt plunged into a whirl of talk of bicycles, tricycles, records, racing cyclists, Hillier and Synyer and Noel Whiting, Taylerson and Appleyard; talk wherein the young man opposite bore an animated share, while I was left in the cold.

Our new friend, it seemed, had himself been a prominent racing bicyclist a few years back, and was presently, at Hewitt's request, exhibiting a neat gold medal that hung at his watch-guard. That was won, he explained, in the old tall bicycle days, the days of bad tracks, when every racing cyclist carried cinder scars on his face from numerous accidents. He pointed to a blue mark on his forehead, which, he told us, was a track scar, and described a bad fall that had cost him two teeth, and broken others. The gaps among his teeth were plain to see as he smiled.

Presently the waiter brought dessert, and the young man opposite took an apple. Nutcrackers and a fruit-knife lay on our side of the stand, and Hewitt turned the stand to offer him the knife.

"No, thanks," he said, "I only polish a good apple, never peel it. It's a mistake except with thick-skinned, foreign ones."

And he began to munch the apple as only a boy or a healthy athlete can. Presently he turned his head to order coffee. The waiter's back was turned, and he had to be called twice. To my unutterable amazement Hewitt reached swiftly across the table, snatched the half-eaten apple from the young man's plate and pocketed it; gazing immediately, with an abstracted air, at a painted Cupid on the ceiling.

Our neighbour turned again, looked doubtfully at his plate and the tablecloth about it, and then shot a keen glance in the direction of Hewitt. He said nothing, however, but took his coffee and his bill, deliberately drank the former, gazing quietly at Hewitt as he did it, paid the latter, and left.

Immediately Hewitt was on his feet and, taking an umbrella which stood near, followed. Just as he reached the door he met our late neighbour, who had turned suddenly back.

"Your umbrella, I think?" Hewitt asked, offering it.

"Yes, thanks." But the man's eye had more than its former hardness, and his jaw-muscles tightened as I looked. He turned and went. Hewitt came back to me. "Pay the bill," he said, "and go back to your rooms; I will come on later: I must follow[Pg 531] this man—it's the Foggatt case." As he went out I heard a cab rattle away, and immediately after it another.


I paid the bill and went home. It was ten o'clock before Hewitt turned up, calling in at his office below on his way up to me.

"Mr. Sidney Mason," he said, "is the gentleman the police will be wanting to-morrow, I expect, for the Foggatt murder. He is as smart a man as I remember ever meeting, and has done me rather neatly twice this evening."

"You mean the man we sat opposite at Luzatti's, of course?"

"Yes, I got his name, of course, from the reverse of that gold medal he was good enough to show me. But I fear he has bilked me over the address. He suspected me, that was plain, and left his umbrella by way of experiment, to see if I were watching him sharply enough to notice the circumstance, and to avail myself of it to follow him. I was hasty and fell into the trap. He cabbed it away from Luzatti's, and I cabbed it after him. He has led me a pretty dance up and down London to-night, and two cabbies have made quite a stroke of business out of us. In the end he entered a house of which, of course, I have taken the address, but I expect he doesn't live there. He is too smart a man to lead me to his den; but the police can certainly find something of him at the house he went in at—and, I expect, left by the back way. By the way, you never guessed that simple little puzzle as to how I found that this was a murder, did you? You see it now, of course?"

"Something to do with that apple you stole, I suppose?"

"Something to do with it? I should think so, you worthy innocent. Just ring your bell—we'll borrow Mrs. Clayton's sewing-machine oil again. On the night we broke into Foggatt's room you saw the nutshells and the bitten remains of an apple on the sideboard, and you remembered it; and yet you couldn't see that in that piece of apple possibly lay an important piece of evidence. Of course, I never expected you to have arrived at any conclusion, as I had, because I had ten minutes in which to examine that apple, and to do what I did with it. But at least you should have seen the possibility of evidence in it.

"First, now, the apple was white. A bitten apple, as you must have observed, turns of a reddish-brown colour if left to stand long. Different kinds of apples brown with different rapidities, and the browning always begins at the core. This is one of the twenty thousand tiny things that few people take the trouble to notice, but which it is useful for a man in my position to know. A russet will brown quite quickly. The apple on the sideboard was, as near as I could tell, a Newtown pippin or other apple of that kind, which will brown at the core in from twenty minutes to half an hour, and in other parts in a quarter of an hour more. When we saw it, it was white, with barely a tinge of brown about the exposed core. Inference—somebody had been eating it fifteen or twenty[Pg 532] minutes before—perhaps a little longer; an inference supported by the fact that it was only partly eaten.

"I examined that apple, and found it bore marks of very irregular teeth. While you were gone I oiled it over, and, rushing down to my rooms, where I always have a little plaster of Paris handy for such work, took a mould of the part where the teeth had left the clearest marks. I then returned the apple to its place, for the police to use if they thought fit. Looking at my mould, it was plain that the person who had bitten that apple had lost two teeth, one at top and one below, not exactly opposite, but nearly so. The other teeth, although they would appear to have been fairly sound, were irregular in size and line. Now the dead man had, as I saw, a very excellent set of false teeth, regular and sharp, with none missing. Therefore it was plain that somebody else had been eating that apple. Do I make myself clear?"

"Quite. Go on."

"There were other inferences to be made—slighter, but all pointing the same way. For instance, a man of Foggatt's age does not as a rule munch an unpeeled apple like a schoolboy—inference, a young man, and healthy. Why I came to the conclusion that he was tall, active, a gymnast, and perhaps a sailor, I have already told you, when we examined the outside of Foggatt's window. It was also pretty clear that robbery was not the motive, since nothing was disturbed, and that a friendly conversation had preceded the murder—witness the drinking and the eating of the apple. Whether or not the police noticed these things I can't say. If they had had their best men on they certainly would, I think; but the case, to a rough observer, looked so clearly one of accident or suicide, that possibly they didn't.

"As I said, after the inquest I was unable to devote any immediate time to the case, but I resolved to keep my eyes open. The man to look for was tall, young, strong and active, with a very irregular set of teeth, a tooth missing from the lower jaw just to the left of the centre, and another from the upper jaw a little further still toward the left. He might possibly be a person I had seen about the premises (I have a good memory for faces), or, of course, he possibly might not.

"Just before you returned from your holiday I noticed a young man at Luzatti's whom I remembered to have seen somewhere about the offices in this building. He was tall, young, and so on, but I had a client with me, and was unable to examine him more narrowly—indeed, as I was not exactly engaged on the case, and as there are several tall young men about, I took little trouble. But to-day, finding the same young man with a vacant seat opposite him, I took the opportunity of making a closer acquaintance."

"You certainly managed to draw him out."

"Oh, yes—the easiest person in the world to draw out is a cyclist. The easiest cyclist to draw out is, of course, the novice, but the next easiest is the veteran. When you see a healthy, well-trained looking man, who nevertheless has a slight stoop in the shoulders, and, maybe, a medal on his watch-guard, it is always a safe card to try him first with a little cycle-racing talk. I soon brought Mr. Mason out of his shell, read his name on his medal, and had a chance of observing his teeth—indeed, he spoke of them himself. Now, as I observed just now, there are several tall, athletic young men about, and also there are several men who have lost teeth. But now I saw that this tall and athletic young man had lost exactly two teeth—one from the lower jaw, just to the left of the centre, and another from the upper jaw, further still toward the left! Trivialities, pointing in the same direction, became important considerations. More, his teeth were irregular throughout, and, as nearly as I could remember it, looked remarkably like this little plaster mould of mine."

He produced from his pocket an irregular lump of plaster, about three inches long. On one side of this appeared in relief the likeness of two irregular rows of six or eight teeth, minus one in each row, where a deep gap was seen, in the position spoken of by my friend. He proceeded:—

"This was enough at least to set me after this young man. But he gave me the greatest chance of all when he turned and left his apple (eaten unpeeled, remember!—another important triviality) on his plate. I'm afraid I wasn't at all polite, and I ran the risk of arousing his suspicions, but I couldn't resist the temptation to steal it. I did, as you saw, and here it is."

He brought the apple from his coat-pocket. One bitten side, placed against the upper half of the mould, fitted precisely, a projection of apple filling exactly the deep gap. The other side similarly fitted the lower half.

"There's no getting behind that, you see," Hewitt remarked. "Merely observing the man's teeth was a guide, to some extent, but[Pg 533] this is as plain as his signature or his thumb-impression. You'll never find two men bite exactly alike, no matter whether they leave distinct teeth-marks or not. Here, by-the-bye, is Mrs. Clayton's oil. We'll take another mould from this apple, and compare them."


He oiled the apple, heaped a little plaster in a newspaper, took my water-jug and rapidly pulled off a hard mould. The parts corresponding to the merely broken places in the apple were, of course, dissimilar; but as to the teeth-marks, the impressions were identical.

"That will do, I think," Hewitt said. "To-morrow morning, Brett, I shall put up these things in a small parcel, and take them round to Bow Street."

"But are they sufficient evidence?"

"Quite sufficient for the police purpose. There is the man, and all the rest—his movements on the day and so forth are simple matters of inquiry; at any rate, that is police business."

I had scarcely sat down to my breakfast on the following morning when Hewitt came into the room and put a long letter before me.

"From our friend of last night," he said; "read it."

This letter began abruptly, and undated, and was as follows:—

"To Martin Hewitt, Esq.

"Sir,—I must compliment you on the adroitness you exhibited this evening in extracting from me my name. The address I was able to balk you of for the time being, although by the time you read this you will probably have found it through the Law List, as I am an admitted solicitor. That, however, will be of little use to you, for I am removing myself, I think, beyond the reach even of your abilities of search. I knew you well by sight, and was, perhaps, foolish to allow myself to be drawn as I did. Still, I had no idea that it would be dangerous, especially after seeing you, as a witness with very little to say, at the inquest upon the scoundrel I shot. Your somewhat discourteous seizure of my apple at first amazed me—indeed, I was a little doubtful as to whether you had really taken it—but it was my first warning that you might be playing a deep game against me, incomprehensible as the action was to my mind. I subsequently reflected that I had been eating an apple, instead of taking the drink he first offered me, in the dead wretch's rooms on the night he came to his merited end. From this I assume that your design was in some way to compare what remained of the two apples—although I do not presume to fathom the depths of your detective system. Still, I have heard of many of your cases, and profoundly admire the keenness you exhibit. I am thought to be a keen man myself, but although I was able, to some extent, to hold my own to-night, I admit that your acumen in this case alone is something beyond me.

"I do not know by whom you are commissioned to hunt me, nor to what extent you may be acquainted with my connection with the creature I killed. I have sufficient respect for you, however, to wish that you should not regard me as a vicious criminal, and a couple of hours to spare in which to offer you an explanation that may persuade you that such is not altogether the case. A hasty and violent temper I admit possessing; but even now I cannot regret the one crime it has led me into—for it is, I suppose, strictly speaking, a crime. For it was the man Foggatt who made a felon of my father[Pg 534] before the eyes of the world, and killed him with shame. It was he who murdered my mother, and none the less murdered her because she died of a broken heart. That he was also a thief and a hypocrite might have concerned me little, but for that.

"Of my father I remember very little. He must, I fear, have been a weak and incapable man in many respects. He had no business abilities—in fact, was quite unable to understand the complicated business matters in which he largely dealt. Foggatt was a consummate master of all those arts of financial jugglery that make so many fortunes, and ruin so many others, in matters of company promoting, stocks and shares. He was unable to exercise them, however, because of a great financial disaster in which he had been mixed up a few years before, and which made his name one to be avoided in future. In these circumstances he made a sort of secret and informal partnership with my father, who, ostensibly alone in the business, acted throughout on the directions of Foggatt, understanding as little of what he did, poor, simple man, as a schoolboy would have done. The transactions carried on went from small to large, and, unhappily, from honourable to dishonourable. My father relied on the superior abilities of Foggatt with an absolute trust, carrying out each day the directions given him privately the previous evening, buying, selling, printing prospectuses, signing whatever had to be signed, all with sole responsibility and as sole partner, while Foggatt, behind the scenes, absorbed the larger share of the profits. In brief, my unhappy and foolish father was a mere tool in the hands of the cunning scoundrel who pulled all the wires of the business, himself unseen and irresponsible. At last three companies, for the promotion of which my father was responsible, came to grief in a heap. Fraud was written large over all their history, and, while Foggatt retired with his plunder, my father was left to meet ruin, disgrace, and imprisonment. From beginning to end he, and he only, was responsible. There was no shred of evidence to connect Foggatt with the matter, and no means of escape from the net drawn about my father. He lived through three years of imprisonment and then, entirely abandoned by the man who had made use of his simplicity, he died—of nothing but shame and a broken heart.

"Of this I knew nothing at the time. Again and again, as a small boy, I remember asking of my mother why I had no father at home, as other boys had—unconscious of the stab I thus inflicted on her gentle heart. Of her my earliest, as well as my latest, memory is that of a pale, weeping woman, who grudged to let me out of her sight.

"Little by little I learnt the whole cause of my mother's grief, for she had no other confidant, and I fear my character developed early, for my first coherent remembrance of the matter is that of a childish design to take a table-knife and kill the bad man who had made my father die in prison and caused my mother to cry.

"One thing, however, I never knew: the name of that bad man. Again and again, as I grew older, I demanded to know, but my mother always withheld it from me, with a gentle reminder that vengeance was for a greater hand than mine.

"I was seventeen years of age when my mother died. I believe that nothing but her strong attachment to myself and her desire to see me safely started in life kept her alive so long. Then I found that through all those years of narrowed means she had contrived to scrape and save a little money—sufficient, as it afterwards proved, to see me through the examinations for entrance to my profession, with the generous assistance of my father's old legal advisers, who gave me my articles, and who have all along treated me with extreme kindness.

"For most of the succeeding years my life does not concern the matter in hand. I was a lawyer's clerk in my benefactors' service, and afterwards a qualified man among their assistants. All through, the firm were careful, in pursuance of my poor mother's wishes, that I should not learn the name or whereabouts of the man who had wrecked her life and my father's. I first met the man himself at the Clifton Club, where I had gone with an acquaintance who was a member. It was not till afterwards that I understood his curious awkwardness on that occasion. A week later I called (as I have frequently done) at the building in which your office is situated, on business with a solicitor who has an office on the floor above your own. On the stairs I almost ran against Mr. Foggatt. He started and turned pale, exhibiting signs of alarm that I could not understand, and asked me if I wished to see him.

"'No,' I replied; 'I didn't know you lived here. I am after somebody else just now. Aren't you well?'

"He looked at me rather doubtfully, and said he was not very well.

[Pg 535]

"I met him twice or thrice after that, and on each occasion his manner grew more friendly, in a servile, flattering, and mean sort of way—a thing unpleasant enough in anybody, but doubly so in the intercourse of a man with another young enough to be his own son. Still, of course, I treated the man civilly enough. On one occasion he asked me into his rooms to look at a rather fine picture he had lately bought, and observed casually, lifting a large revolver from the mantelpiece:—


"'You see I am prepared for any unwelcome visitors to my little den! He! he!' Conceiving him, of course, to refer to burglars, I could not help wondering at the forced and hollow character of his laugh. As we went down the stairs he said, 'I think we know one another pretty well now, Mr. Mason, eh? And if I could do anything to advance your professional prospects I should be glad of the chance, of course. I understand the struggles of a young professional man—he! he!' It was the forced laugh again, and the man spoke nervously. 'I think,' he added, 'that if you will drop in to-morrow evening, perhaps I may have a little proposal to make. Will you?'

"I assented, wondering what this proposal could be. Perhaps this eccentric old gentleman was a good fellow, after all, anxious to do me a good turn, and his awkwardness was nothing but a natural delicacy in breaking the ice. I was not so flush of good friends as to be willing to lose one. He might be desirous of putting business in my way.

"I went, and was received with a cordiality that even then seemed a little over-effusive. We sat and talked of one thing and another for a long while, and I began to wonder when Mr. Foggatt was coming to the point that most interested me. Several times he invited me to drink and smoke, but long usage to athletic training has given me a distaste for both practices, and I declined. At last he began to talk about myself. He was afraid that my professional prospects in this country were not great, but he had heard that in some of the Colonies—South Africa, for example—young lawyers had brilliant opportunities.

"'If you'd like to go there,' he said, 'I've no doubt, with a little capital, a clever man like you could get a grand practice together very soon. Or you might buy a share in some good established practice. I should be glad to let you have five hundred pounds, or even a little more if that wouldn't satisfy you, and ——.'

"I stood aghast. Why should this man, almost a stranger, offer me five hundred pounds, or even more—'if that wouldn't satisfy' me? What claim had I on him? It was very generous of him, of course, but out of the question. I was at least a gentleman, and had a gentleman's self-respect. Meanwhile he had gone maundering on, in a halting sort of way, and presently let slip a sentence that struck me like a blow between the eyes.

"'I shouldn't like you to bear ill-will because of what has happened in the past,' he said. 'Your late—your late lamented mother—I'm afraid—she had unworthy suspicions—I'm sure—it was best for all parties—your father always appreciated ——[Pg 536].'


"I set back my chair and stood erect before him. This grovelling wretch, forcing the words through his dry lips, was the thief who had made another of my father and had brought to miserable ends the lives of both my parents. Everything was clear. The creature went in fear of me, never imagining that I did not know him, and sought to buy me off; to buy me from the remembrance of my dead mother's broken heart for £500—£500 that he had made my father steal for him. I said not a word. But the memory of all my mother's bitter years, and a savage sense of this crowning insult to myself, took a hold upon me, and I was a tiger. Even then, I verily believe that one word of repentance, one tone of honest remorse, would have saved him. But he drooped his eyes, snuffled excuses, and stammered of 'unworthy suspicions' and 'no ill-will.' I let him stammer. Presently he looked up and saw my face; and fell back in his chair, sick with terror. I snatched the pistol from the mantelpiece, and, thrusting it in his face, shot him where he sat.

"My subsequent coolness and quietness surprise me now. I took my hat and stepped toward the door. But there were voices on the stairs. The door was locked on the inside, and I left it so. I went back and quietly opened a window. Below was a clear drop into darkness, and above was plain wall; but away to one side, where the slope of the gable sprang from the roof, an iron gutter ended, supported by a strong bracket. It was the only way. I got upon the sill and carefully shut the window behind me, for people were already knocking at the lobby door. From the end of the sill, holding on by the reveal of the window with one hand, leaning and stretching my utmost, I caught the gutter, swung myself clear, and scrambled on the roof. I climbed over many roofs before I found, in an adjoining street, a ladder lashed perpendicularly against the front of a house in course of repair. This, to me, was an easy opportunity of descent, notwithstanding the boards fastened over the face of the ladder, and I availed myself of it.

"I have taken some time and trouble in order that you (so far as I am aware the only human being beside myself who knows me to be the author of Foggatt's death) shall have at least the means of appraising my crime at its just value of culpability. How much you already know of what I have told you I cannot guess. I am wrong, hardened and flagitious, I make no doubt, but I speak of the facts as they are. You see the thing, of course, from your own point of view—I from mine. And I remember my mother.

"Trusting that you will forgive the odd freak of a man—a criminal, let us say—who makes a confidant of the man set to hunt him down, I beg leave to be, Sir, your obedient servant,

"Sidney Mason."

I read the singular document through and handed it back to Hewitt.

"How does it strike you?" Hewitt asked.

[Pg 537]

"Mason would seem to be a man of very marked character," I said. "Certainly no fool. And, if his tale is true, Foggatt is no great loss to the world."

"Just so—if the tale is true. Personally, I am disposed to believe it is."

"Where was the letter posted?"

"It wasn't posted. It was handed in with the others from the front door letter-box this morning in an unstamped envelope. He must have dropped it in himself during the night. Paper," Hewitt proceeded, holding it up to the light, "Turkey mill, ruled foolscap. Envelope, blue official shape, Pirie's watermark. Both quite ordinary and no special marks."


"Where do you suppose he's gone?"

"Impossible to guess. Some might think he meant suicide by the expression 'beyond the reach even of your abilities of search,' but I scarcely think he is the sort of man to do that. No, there is no telling. Something may be got by inquiring at his late address, of course; but when such a man tells you he doesn't think you will find him, you may count upon its being a difficult job. His opinion is not to be despised."

"What shall you do?"

"Put the letter in the box with the casts for the police. Fiat justitia, you know, without any question of sentiment. As to the apple—I really think, if the police will let me, I'll make you a present of it. Keep it somewhere as a souvenir of your absolute deficiency in reflective observation in this case, and look at it whenever you feel yourself growing dangerously conceited. It should cure you."

This is the history of the withered and almost petrified half-apple that stands in my cabinet among a number of flint implements and one or two rather fine old Roman vessels. Of Mr. Sidney Mason we never heard another word. The police did their best, but he had left not a track behind him. His rooms were left almost undisturbed, and he had gone without anything in the way of elaborate preparation for his journey, and yet without leaving a trace of his intentions.

[Pg 538]


Winifred Mary Winter.

From a Photo by Alfred Ellis, 20, Upper Baker Street, N.W.

Katie Martindale.

From a Photo by J. H. Hogg, Kendal.

[Pg 539]

Phyllis Lott.

From a Photo by J. H. Killick, Holloway Road, N.

Margot Amy Cecil Russell.

From a Photo by Gunn & Stuart, Richmond.

Dorothy & Marjorie Holmes.

From a Photo by Jas. Russell & Sons, Chichester.

[Pg 540]

Löie Fuller—The Inventor of the Serpentine Dance.

By Mrs. M. Griffith.


From a Photograph.

La Reine Löie does not claim for herself the distinction of being the inventor of the graceful evolutions which have made her name famous all over Europe and America. She says: "I have only revived a forgotten art, for I have been able to trace some of my dances back to four thousand years ago: to the time when Miriam and the women of Israel—filled with religious fervour and rapture—celebrated their release from Egyptian captivity with 'timbrels and with dances.'"

This is true; but as "there is nothing new under the sun," I contend that Miss Fuller deserves her title, and also all the tribute and admiration which those who have seen her dance long to lay at her feet. For not even the most realistic description, or the most earnest study of the illustrations which still exist of the girl-dancers of Herculaneum and Pompeii, who, in mist-like robes, with un-girdled waists and sandalled feet, with languorous movements and rapturous uplifted faces, entranced even the most besotted among the revellers at the notorious bacchanalian orgies of those cities of the past—not these, not even the most brilliant pen-painting can convey any idea of La Löie's exquisite dancing. With continuous but gentle movements of arms, feet, and shapely form, the outline of which is sometimes veiled, and at other times revealed amid the folds of her gauzy garments of ever-changing rainbow-like tints, she appears like a supernatural being sent to teach us the poetry of motion.

Suddenly the scene changes; the dancer, with joyous face, parted lips, and floating tresses of red gold, to the accompaniment of weird music, flits here and there: now dreamily floating along the stage, then rapidly whirling round and round; one moment appearing a blaze of fire, the next with sombre draperies, every fold seeming incrusted with jewels, the little feet hardly touching the ground, the pliant form bending and swaying in the constantly-changing light, like some gay-plumaged tropical bird, until her audience hold their breath with admiration.

What a treasure she would have been to the Egyptian and Roman priests of old, in their temple mysteries and religious festivals. And what trouble she would have caused in the last century; indeed, in all probability she would have been burned as a witch; for our ancestors did not waste time in wondering at or admiring things they did not understand, but resorted to fire or water to solve their difficulties.

La Löie's early history is as remarkable as her dances: she has been a reciter, actress, singer, and play-writer, and finally, by a mere accidental circumstance, success has been thrust upon her as a dancer. With that delicate sister-feeling which makes us—providing there is no rivalry—so wondrous kind, I was not curious about Miss Fuller's present age; for, after all, paltry years count not with us, providing the heart keeps young; but I felt I could with discretion inquire at what age[Pg 541] she made her first appearance, and learnt to my great surprise that she made her début, at the early age of two, at a Sunday-school entertainment at Chicago; where, unheralded and unannounced, she toddled on to the platform and recited "Mary had a little lamb," in a sweet, shrill treble which was distinctly audible throughout the hall. The wee, quaint little maiden who so gravely contributed her share to the evening's amusement succeeded in charming the audience, and her services were often in request after this.


From a Photo by Mora, Broadway, New York.

Two years later she was engaged to play the little boy's part with Mrs. Chanfrau in "Was She Right?" and astonished everyone with her self-possession and ability; but she unfortunately had to give up her part before many months were over, as her parents removed to Monmouth, Illinois. Little Löie then set up as a temperance lecturer, and her first attempt brought her in a profit of twenty dollars. Her little lectures were, of course, taken out of books and newspapers, and committed to memory, but delivered with such excellent elocutionary effect and earnestness, that she was soon in great demand all over the State, and known as the "Western Temperance Prodigy." Only eleven years of age! yet earning her own living, and doing good work—at least, doing what she was able and that which was nearest her hand!

She longed for a chance to return to the stage, and before long got her opportunity, for her parents returned to Chicago to live, and she found no difficulty in again obtaining engagements. She worked unceasingly, was gifted with an excellent memory, was always ready and willing to play any rôle, big or little, that was allotted to her, devoting herself with ardour to the study of every detail of her work; thus, before she had reached the age of sixteen, she had won for herself a reputation that many an experienced actress of twice that age would have been proud of.


From a Photo by Elder, Iowa.

A pianist in Chicago, having heard Miss Fuller sing, was so enraptured with her beautiful voice, that he offered to give her free tuition for two years. The offer was accepted, and at the end of that period she had made such good progress that she was engaged by Mr. J. M. Hill to go on tour, and later on made her appearance in New York as Jack Sheppard, with a salary of seventy-five dollars a week. Her path was not always strewn with roses. She climbed her way steadily up the ladder of fame through many difficulties and discouragements, never ceased working, hardly ever had a penny to spare,[Pg 542] but was always the same bright, cheery little woman that she now is at the zenith of her success, and loved as well as admired by all who know her.


From a Photo by Sarony, New York.

Löie Fuller made a great hit as Ustane in "She," at Niblo's Theatre, and was also in the cast of "Caprice," in London. After which she returned to America to take part in "Quack, M.D.," which was being produced at the Harlem Opera House, and it was while rehearsing her part for this play that the tide rose which was to bear her to fame and fortune. It came in the shape of a box sent by a young Indian officer whom Miss Fuller had only met once when she was in London. With eager fingers she removed the many wrappers, and found the contents consisted of a beautiful Eastern gown of soft white silk; the sort of material that would pass uncreased through a ring, and for texture and exquisite whiteness might have formed a fitting garment for Titania herself.

Great was her delight at this unexpected gift, and she wore it in the hypnotic scene in "Quack, M.D." The dainty robe adapted itself admirably to her supple form, which had never been incased in a corset; and after the play was over, she tried the effects of it, by dancing a few steps in front of her cheval glass. The long, sweeping folds lent themselves to every movement. Hours passed, yet still she flung the snowy fabric round her, and pirouetted about, registering in her mind for future reference, the effect of each position and step.


From a Photograph.

That night was born the Serpentine Dance. Much practising added grace to the figure and flexibility to the limbs, and the dance, even[Pg 543] in its initial stage, took everyone by storm, and La Löie's name became famous throughout America. Hungering for "other worlds to conquer," she came to Europe, the first place she visited being Germany, where she was very well received. Her next move was to Paris, where she gave a private rehearsal before the manager of the Folies Bergère, who instantly engaged her.


From a Photo by Reutlinger, Paris.

All Paris went mad over her dancing, and the management of the Folies Bergère, anxious to secure their prize, concluded a three years' engagement with her, at the largest salary ever paid to a dancer, or indeed to an actress, namely, £200 a week, and a suite of rooms in the theatre. This seems enormous, but unfortunately for the present it does not go into Miss Fuller's pocket—for the year previous to her Parisian engagement she had signed a contract to go to Russia, but when on her way there, she received a telegram stating that her mother was dangerously ill, and, without an instant's delay, she returned and cancelled her engagement. Her heavy luggage having preceded her to Russia, it was seized, her dresses confiscated, and an action brought against her, which she had the misfortune to lose, and was compelled to pay a heavy indemnity.


From a Photo by Sarony, New York.

The dancing of La Löie has so raised the reputation of the Folies Bergère that now the most particular Parisian has no hesitation about taking his wife or lady friends there, and although it was her 300th appearance on January 6th, her popularity is as great if not greater than it has ever been.

"La Belle Americaine" has been invited to dance at the smartest houses in Paris, though for this privilege the Folies Bergère charged £40 for every performance, while the preparatory expenses and light[Pg 544] cost an additional £100. The wife of the American Minister invited her to give a private performance at her residence in Paris: the necessary stage and other arrangements took forty men two days and two nights to complete. La Löie on that occasion surpassed herself, and caused a perfect furore among the guests.


From a Photograph.

The one dance has become many, among which the principal favourites are the "Widow Dance"—in black robe and with powdered hair and patches; the "Rainbow," "Mirror," "Flower," "Butterfly," and "Good Night" dances, and the dresses for each she has designed herself; their shape is kept a secret. One of the most beautiful of her gowns—if I may so designate these mysteriously lovely draperies—was painted on thin silk in sections, and then the artists engaged on it had no idea what their work was intended for. Her first dress—the present sent her by the young Indian—is, although much the worse for wear, her favourite. As the artiste comes off the stage she is completely enveloped in a huge cloak by her mother, who is always with her, and I have never met anyone who has the slightest idea of what her dress is like off the stage; though, whatever it may be, its effect is bewilderingly beautiful.


From a Photograph.

The dancer in private is simply a bonnie, blue-eyed little woman, plain in her dress, and with a sweet frankness of manner and speech which render her eminently attractive. Her rooms boast of no costly luxuries, bric-à-brac, or the thousand and one costly trifles which artistes usually surround themselves with. One thing attracts you as you enter the little sitting-room, and that is a bust of her, by the great sculptor Hussin; in her boudoir are also several miniature models of stages, and it is by all sorts of experiments on these that Miss Fuller is enabled to judge of the effect of any new dance and lighting. At the conclusion of your visit you could not help feeling that you had been privileged to meet not only a great artiste, but also a good woman, against whose reputation a censorious and[Pg 545] jealous world has never dared to breathe a word.

Needless to say, a host of imitators has arisen, some of whom, not content with pirating her dances, have tried to copy her dresses and even to use her name. The complicated lighting apparatus which attracts so much admiration is managed by the dancer's brothers, who practise every day with her, and as she is always inventing new dances, their work is no sinecure.


From a Drawing.

One of her greatest successes has been the "Mirror Dance," in which, by some mysterious arrangement, eight Löie Fullers appear to be dancing at the same time, and the whole stage is bathed in a flood of glorious tints, in which may be seen aerial forms, in cloudlike vestures, whirling and dancing as if they were the fabled victims of the Tarantula; the whole forming an artistic spectacular effect that the world has never seen equalled.

There is only one sad note in the whole history of the clever little dancer—that is, her delicate health, and more especially the paralysis of the arms with which she once or twice has been threatened. She works very hard, and has to train as severely as any jockey. Short as her performances are, they are very fatiguing and a great physical strain.

From a Photo by Riders, Chicago.

A great compliment is now being paid her, the result of which the next Salon will show, for a clever young American artist has selected "Löie's Dance" as his subject. It is a large picture and vigorously treated: only half the dancer is shown, and she appears as if dancing out of the canvas. Miss Fuller has done wonders in improving the public taste, and proving that dancing is not an art that degrades, but, with modestly-draped figure and graceful movements, an educator, as everything that is beautiful ought to be. Let us hope that the craze for high kicking, unnatural straining of the muscles, and the hideous short skirts and scanty bodice will become a thing of the past, and that a mere display of skill and agility without the elegance or grace which ought to characterize the Terpsichorean art will die a natural death. La Belle Löie will visit England about May, and it is to be hoped that she will be accorded such a welcome as will induce her to prolong her stay among us. For it may truly be said there is not a discordant note in her whole performance, or a gesture or movement which would wound the susceptibilities of the most modest-minded of British matrons or maidens.

[Pg 546]


A Story for Children From the SERVIAN

It is related that there was once a King who was passionately fond of hunting the wild beasts of his forests. On one occasion he chased a stag so far and so long that he lost his way. Finding himself quite alone and night coming on, he was glad to fall in with the hut of a charcoal-burner.

"Will you be so good as to conduct me to the nearest highway? I will generously reward you for the service."

"I would do it with pleasure," replied the charcoal-burner, "but I have a wife who is about to become a mother, and I cannot leave her alone. On the other hand, why cannot you pass the night with me? Go up into our hay-loft, and rest yourself upon a truss of sweet-smelling hay which you will find there, and to-morrow I will guide you on your way."

A few minutes later the charcoal-burner's wife brought into the world an infant son.

The King was unable to sleep. At midnight he noticed lights moving in the chamber beneath, and, applying his eye to a crack in the floor, he perceived the charcoal-burner sleeping; his wife lying in a half-fainting condition; and, lastly, standing by the new-born child, three old women, dressed in white and holding each a lighted wax candle, who were conversing.

The first said:—

"To this boy I give courage to dare all dangers."

The second said:—

"I will endow him with the faculty of being able to escape all dangers and to be long-lived."

The third said:—

"As for me, I will give him the hand of the daughter just born to the King who is sleeping in the hay-loft over our heads."

With the utterance of the last words, the lights went out and all was silent again.

The King was as much stunned with sorrow and surprise as if he had received a sword's point in his breast. Until dawn, without closing an eye, he lay thinking of how he might prevent the realization of the witch's prediction.

With the first beams of morning light, the infant began to cry. The charcoal-burner rose and, going to his wife's side, found that she was dead.

"Poor little orphan!" he cried, sadly; "what will become of you, bereft of a mother's care?"

"Confide this child to me," said the King; "I will take care of it, and it will find itself well off. As to yourself, I will give you so much money that you shall have no further need to tire yourself by burning charcoal."

The charcoal-burner gave his consent with pleasure, and the King departed, promising to send somebody for the infant. The Queen and the courtiers had, meanwhile, arranged to give the King an agreeable surprise, by announcing to him the birth of a charming[Pg 547] little Princess, who had come into the world on the night when the King, her father, saw the three witches. Knitting his brow, the King called one of his attendants to him and said:—


"Go to such and such a place in the forest, to the hut of a charcoal-burner, to whom you will give this money in exchange for a new-born child. Take the brat and, somewhere on your way, drown it. Only remember that if it be not thoroughly done away with, you yourself shall take its place."

The servant received the infant in a basket, and, having reached a footbridge over a wide and deep river, he threw the basket and the infant into the stream.

"A good journey to you, son-in-law!" cried the King, on hearing the servant's report of his mission.

The King believed that the child was drowned, but it was neither drowned nor dead; on the contrary, supported by the basket in which it was inclosed, the little one floated gently down the river, as in a cradle, and slept as sweetly as if its mother had sung it to rest.

After awhile the basket came near the hut of a fisherman who, while busy repairing his nets, caught sight of something floating in the water in mid-stream. Quickly jumping into his boat, he rowed out to the object and, having secured it, ran to tell his wife what he had found.

"You have always desired to have a son," he cried; "here is a handsome one brought to us by the river."

The fisherman's wife received the infant with great joy, and tended it as if it were her own. They called it Plavacete (the Swimmer), because it came to them floating on the waters. Years sped, the little foundling grew up to be a man, and in none of the neighbouring villages was there a youth to compare with him.

Now, it happened one day, in the summer time, that the King rode out unattended. The heat was excessive, and he reined in his steed in front of the fisherman's hut to ask for a glass of cold water. Plavacete brought it out to him; the King looked at him intently, then, turning to the fisherman, said:—

"You have a handsome youth there: is he your son?"

"Yes and no," replied the fisherman. "Twenty years ago, I found a tiny child in a basket floating down the river; I and my wife adopted him."

The King turned pale as death, for he guessed that it was the same infant that he had condemned to be drowned. Collecting himself, he dismounted and said:—

"I want to send a message to the castle, and I have nobody with me; can this youth deliver it?"

"Certainly," replied the fisherman; "your Majesty may rely on his intelligence."

Thereupon the King sat down and wrote to the Queen these words:—

"The young man who brings you this message is the most dangerous of all my enemies. As soon as he arrives, have his head chopped off. Do not delay one moment and have no pity; let him be executed before I return to the castle."

[Pg 548]

After carefully folding the letter, he fastened it with the Royal seal.

Plavacete took the letter and set off with it through the forest, which was so wide and dense that he lost his way in it. Overtaken by night in the midst of his adventurous journey, he met an old woman.

"Where are you going, Plavacete, where are you going?" she asked.

"I am intrusted with a letter for the Royal castle, but I have lost my way; can you not, good mother, set me on my right road?"

"To-day, my child, that is impossible. Darkness has come, and you would not have time to reach the Royal castle," replied the old woman. "Rest in my dwelling-place to-night—you will not be with a stranger there, for I am your god-mother."

The young man obeyed, and they entered a charming cottage which seemed suddenly to rise out of the ground. Now, while Plavacete was sleeping, the old woman changed his letter for another, running thus:—

"Immediately upon receiving this letter, conduct the bearer to the Princess, our daughter. This young man is our son-in-law, and I wish them to be married before my return to the castle. Such is my will."


After reading the letter, the Queen gave orders for the preparation of all that was needed for the celebration of the wedding. Both she and her daughter were greatly pleased with the behaviour of the young man, and nothing troubled the happiness of the newly-married pair.

A few days afterwards the King returned to his castle and, having previously learned what had taken place, began to scold the Queen.

"But you expressly ordered me to have them married before your return: here is your letter—read it again," replied the Queen.

He carefully examined the epistle, and was obliged to admit that the paper, the writing, and the seal were all unquestionably authentic. He thereupon called for his son-in-law, and interrogated him as to the details of his journey.

Plavacete withheld nothing from his father-in-law, and related how he had lost his way in the forest and had passed the night there in a cottage.

"What is this old woman like?" asked the King.

On hearing the description given him by Plavacete, the King was convinced that it was the identical old woman who, twenty years previously, had predicted the marriage of the Princess with the charcoal-burner's son.

After reflecting for awhile, the King went on:—

"What is done is done: only you cannot be my son-in-law on such slight grounds. For a wedding present, you must bring me three hairs plucked from the head of Dede-Vsevede, the old man who knows all and sees all."

He thought by this means to get rid of his son-in-law, whose presence embarrassed him.

Plavecete took leave of his wife departed, saying to himself:—

"I do not know which way to turn my steps; but no matter, my god-mother will direct them."

He was not deceived. Without difficulty he found the right road, and pressed forward for a long time over hill and dale and river, until he reached the shore of the Black Sea,[Pg 549] and observed a boat with its one boatman, to whom he said:—

"Heaven bless you, old boatman!"

"The same to you, young traveller. Where do you want to go?"

"To the castle of Dede-Vsevede, to get three hairs from his head."

"If that is so, welcome! I have long awaited the arrival of such an envoy as you. For twenty years I have been rowing passengers across, and not one of them has done anything to deliver me. If you promise me to ask Dede-Vsevede when I am to have a substitute to free me from my troubles, I will row you over in my boat."


Plavacete promised, and the boatman rowed him to the opposite shore. He thence continued his journey, and approached a great city, which was partially in ruins. Not far from it he saw a funeral procession; the King of the country followed the coffin of his father, and tears as big as peas rolled down his cheeks.

"Heaven console you in your distress," said Plavacete.

"Thanks, good traveller. Whither are you going?"

"To the castle of Dede-Vsevede, in search of three hairs from his head."

"You are really going to the castle of Dede-Vsevede? What a pity you did not come some weeks ago! We have long been waiting such an envoy as you."

Plavacete was introduced to the Court of the King, who said to him:—

"We have learned that you are bound on a mission to the castle of Dede-Vsevede: alas! we had here an apple-tree which produced youth-giving fruit; one only of its apples, as soon as it was eaten, even by a person at the point of death, instantly cured and rejuvenated him. But for the last twenty years this tree has not borne either flower or fruit. Will you promise me to ask the cause of Dede-Vsevede?"

"I promise you."

After that, Plavacete came to a large, beautiful, but silent city. Near the gate he met an old man, who, staff in hand, was hobbling along with great difficulty.

"Heaven bless you, good old man!"

"Heaven bless you! Whither are you going, handsome traveller?"

"To the castle of Dede-Vsevede, in search of three hairs from his head."

"Ah! you are the very envoy I have so long been expecting. I must conduct you to my master, the King. Follow me."

As soon as they arrived, the King said to him:—

"I hear that you have come on an embassy to Dede-Vsevede. We had here a well which used to fill itself, and which was so marvellous in its effects that sick people were immediately cured on drinking of its water. A few drops sprinkled upon a corpse sufficed to resuscitate it. Well, for twenty years past, this well has been dried up. If you promise to ask Dede-Vsevede how[Pg 550] we can re-fill our well, I will reward you royally."

Plavacete promised, and the King dismissed him graciously.

Continuing his journey, he had to pass through a wide forest, in the midst of which he perceived a broad, grassy plain, full of beautiful flowers, in the centre of which stood a castle built of gold.


It was the palace of Dede-Vsevede, radiant with splendour, looking as if it were made of fire. Plavacete entered it without encountering a single moving creature, except an old woman, half-hidden in a corner spinning.

"Welcome, Plavacete! I am glad to see you here."

It was, once more, his god-mother, the same who had offered him shelter in her forest cottage when he was carrying the King's treacherous message.

"Tell me what brings you here, from so far off?"

"The King will not have me for his son-in-law without being paid for it; so he has sent me here to fetch for him three gold hairs from the head of Dede-Vsevede."

His god-mother burst into laughter, saying:—

"The Dede-Vsevede? Why, I am his mother—he is the shining Sun in person! Every morning he is a child; at noon he becomes a man; at evening he withers to the likeness of a decrepit, hundred-year-old man. But I will contrive to get you three gold hairs from his head, so that you may know that I am not your god-mother for nothing. For all that, however, you cannot remain here any longer as you are. My son, the Sun, is endowed with a charitable soul; but, on returning home, he is always hungry, and it would not astonish me if, as soon as he comes back, he ordered you to be roasted for his supper. To hide you I will overturn this empty box, under which you must creep."

Before obeying, Plavacete begged his god-mother to obtain from Dede-Vsevede answers to the three questions which he had promised to get from him.

"I will put the questions to him, but you must carefully listen to the answers he returns."

Suddenly the wind was unchained without, and, through a window on the western side of the castle, arrived the Sun—an old man with a head of gold.

The old man sat down to supper. After the meal was finished, he placed his head of gold upon his mother's knees and fell asleep.

As soon as she saw that he was sleeping soundly, she plucked from his head one of his gold hairs and threw it upon the floor: in falling the hair made a metallic sound, like the string of a guitar when struck.

"What do you want of me, mother?" asked the old man.

[Pg 551]

"Nothing, my son; I was sleeping and dreaming a strange dream."

"What was it about, mother?"

"I thought I saw a place—I don't know where—where there was a well supplied with water from a spring, by which sick people were cured, and even dying persons, after drinking a single mouthful of it; and more than that, corpses even were resuscitated after having been sprinkled with a few drops of this marvellous water. But for twenty years this well has remained dry: what should be done to fill it as of old?"


"The remedy is simple enough: a frog has lodged itself in the opening, and so prevents the water of the spring entering the well. Let them kill the frog, and their well will be as full of water as it used to be."

When the old man was again soundly sleeping, the old woman plucked another gold hair from his head and threw it upon the floor.

"What do you want of me, mother?"

"Nothing, my son, nothing. While sleeping I had a strange vision. It seemed to me that the inhabitants of a city—what city I do not know—had in their garden an apple-tree, the apples of which possessed the virtue of renewing the youth of whomsoever ate of them. A single apple eaten by an old man sufficed to give back to him the strength and freshness of youth. Now, for twenty years, that tree has borne neither flower nor fruit. By what means can they bring back to it its former power?"

"The means are not difficult. A viper has hidden itself amongst the roots of their tree and feeds on its sap; let them kill the viper and transplant the tree, and they will soon see it covered with fruit as it used to be."

Thereupon the old man once more went off to sleep soundly. The old woman plucked from his head the third gold hair.

"Why do you not let me sleep in peace, mother?" cried the old man, angrily, and trying to rise.

"Lie still, my beloved son, and do not disturb yourself. I am sorry for having waked you. I was having a strange dream. Fancy! I seemed to see a boatman, on the shore of the Black Sea, complaining to a traveller that, for twenty years, nobody had come to replace him: when will that poor old man be relieved of his task?"

"He is an imbecile, that is all! He has only to put his oar into the hand of the first person who wants to be rowed and jump ashore. Whoever receives the oar will replace him as boatman. But leave me in peace, mother, and do not wake me any more; for I have to be up early, first to dry the tears of the Princess, the wife of a charcoal-burner's son. The young creature passes her nights in weeping for her husband, who has been sent by the King, her father, to fetch him three gold hairs from my head."

Next morning the winds were heard howling around the palace of Dede-Vsevede, and instead of an old man, a beautiful child, with hair of gold, awoke on the old woman's knees: it was the divine Sun, who, after[Pg 552] taking leave of his mother, flew out of the eastern window of his palace.

The old woman hastened to turn over the box, and said to Plavacete:—

"See! here are the three gold hairs, and you already know the three answers given by Dede-Vsevede. Now hasten away, and Heaven be with you on your way. You will never see me again, for you will never again have need of me."

Plavacete gratefully thanked her and departed.

On reaching the city of the dried-up well, and questioned by the King as to what good news he was the bearer of, he replied:—

"Have your well carefully cleared out; then kill the frog which obstructs the incoming of the marvellous water from the spring, and you will see it flow as freely as ever."

The King followed the direction of Plavacete, and, delighted to see his well once more filled, made him a present of twelve horses as white as swans, to which he added as much gold and silver as they could carry.

On arriving at the second city and questioned by the King as to the news he brought, he replied:—

"The news I bring you is excellent; none could be better, in fact. You have but to dig up your apple-tree and transplant it, after killing the reptile which has been living amongst its roots; that done, your tree will produce you apples as it formerly did."

Indeed, no sooner was the tree transplanted than it became covered with flowers, as if a shower of roses had fallen upon it. The King, filled with joy, made him a present of twelve horses as black as ravens, and loaded them with as much riches as they could bear.

Continuing his journey to the shore of the Black Sea, he found the boatman, who inquired whether he had learnt for him when the time of his deliverance would come. Plavacete first made him convey him and his horses on to the opposite shore: that done, he advised the boatman to hand his oar to the first traveller who required his services, so that he might be definitely released from his duty.

The King, Plavacete's father-in-law, could not at first believe his eyes on seeing him the possessor of the three gold hairs plucked from the head of Dede-Vsevede. As to the young wife, she shed hot tears, not of sadness, but of joy, at seeing her beloved back again in safety, and she said to him:—

"How were you able, dear husband, to acquire so many magnificent horses laden with riches?"

He replied:—

"All has been purchased with heaviness of heart, with the ready money of pains and labours, and services rendered by me. For example, to one King I pointed out the means by which he was able to repossess himself of the Apples of Youth; to another, I showed the secret of re-opening the spring whence flows the water which gives health and life."

"Apples of Youth! Water of Life!" interrupted the King, addressing Plavacete. "I will go in search of those treasures myself! What happiness! After eating one of those rejuvenating apples, I shall return restored to youth! Then I will drink a few drops of the water of immortality—and I shall live for ever!"

Without delaying a moment, the King set off in search of those two objects—and down to the present day has never been heard of again.

[Pg 553]

The Queer Side of Things.


I have the most severe misgiving about a crucial point of this story; it involves an announcement which may cause the modern reader to throw aside the narrative as a preposterous absurdity. Ah! if I only had to deal with the reader of the Dark Ages, who would swallow anything! Absolute fear incites me to keep this announcement to myself until nearing the end of the tale, and then to break the awkward fact very gently—glossing it over as much as possible; but native outspokenness, assisted by the fact that such a course would spoil the story, persuades me to make the risky announcement at once, and chance the consequences.

Very well, then—Andrew P. Hay was a Centaur—a Centaur. He had descended from the pure blood of the old Greek Centaurs. The race, when the belief in the Greek mythology had waned before the spreading light of Christianity, finding the fact of its existence no longer accepted with the old unquestioning faith, and too proud to longer impose its presence on a society sceptical of its reality, retired to a remote island to carry on its existence unseen by mankind; and there its successive generations had appeared and died, until—a few years before the present date—the last survivor paced, with downcast hoof,[2] the deserted paddocks of his sires.[3]

[2] "Downcast hoof," though an unusual, is a good phrase.

[3] "Sires" is a well-chosen word in this connection.

The loneliness of his condition began to prey upon his mind. He had but a single companion in the secluded upland valleys of that deserted island where his forefathers had lived during so many centuries; this companion was his servant, or valet—he also being the sole survivor of his race, the race of hippopaides, or stable boys; from time immemorial the bondmen of the Centaurs and their faithful attendants.

The loneliness was becoming unbearable: concealed behind some crag of the mountains, the two would stand the whole day long watching for the smoke of the steamers which [Pg 554]passed, hull down, to and from Constantinople and Smyrna. No vessel ever touched at their island.

"Raiboskeles," said Philippos Chortophagos (that was the Centaur's name, excusable in a Greek), "this won't do! I can't stand it any longer. Shall we hurl ourselves from yonder pinnacle, you seated on my back, to fathomless doom, and end it?"

"No, my lord!" said the boy, "I'm scratched for that event anyway; and what's more, you won't go to the post either if I can stop it! Think, my lord—what would your stable-companions, now passed away, have said about a fixture like that?" And the boy's eyes filled with tears as he mechanically took from his pocket a small curry-comb and drew it caressingly over the silky hide, while a low continuous hissing sound from between his lips testified to the depth of his sorrow.

He was a good lad, tinged with the archaic stable-slang of Thessaly, fostered by constant reading of the Rhodochroon Hen, the ancient sporting-paper of the Centaurs.

For a few moments Chortophagos gazed fixedly out to sea; then he said:—

"Raiboskeles, I cannot stay here. I shall go mad in this solitude. Let us leave this island and go among men. I know what you are about to say—they will not believe in my existence. I shall be forced to suffer the affront of being looked upon as a figment of superstition, of having my impossibility cast in my teeth—I wager that is what is on your tongue?"

"No takers!" said the boy, emphatically.

"Nevertheless, I prefer even that to the loneliness of this place. Besides, I might perhaps manage to conceal the difference in my form from those of men."

The stable-valet shook his head doubtfully. "Too much handicapped!" he murmured.

"I might adopt a false name!" cried the Centaur, with a sudden inspiration.

The idea took the stable-valet unawares. "Ah! there's something in that tip!" he said, half persuaded.

"I will—I'll find one at once: and that'll break the neck of the whole difficulty! I have it—I'll call myself Hay—Andrew P. Hay. See?—Hay retains enough of my ancestral name; the Philip I'll retain as a reminder of my duty toward my race; while the Andrew will assert the manhood of part of me—eh?"

"Ye—es," said Raiboskeles, reflecting, "I think I'll befriend that dodge at commanding prices." This Rhodochroon Hen phraseology was oppressive at times; but his heart was in the right place.

"Let us hail a steamer somehow," cried the Centaur (whom we will henceforth call Andrew P. Hay).

The valet stood for a moment plunged in thought, smacking his bare leg with an olive-twig; then he said:—

"You'll have to travel as a gee. Half a sec!"


With incredible dexterity he plaited reeds from an adjacent stream into the form of a horse's head-and-neck cover; then respectfully slipped it over the human head and torso of his master. The part where the horse's nose should have been he had packed with grass: the head of Andrew P. Hay filled up the crown; while his human body made a fair show, beneath the covering, of being a[Pg 555] horse's neck. The breadth where the man's shoulders came the valet subsequently explained by stating that he had placed a collar of osiers there to keep off the rub of the covering. There seemed an indignity about it which Mr. Hay found it hard to bear; but he got over it.

Then the valet made a great fire of dry wood and grasses on a pinnacle; and the great column of smoke attracted the attention of a passing coaster, which bore down on the island to find out the reason of it. Bowes (that being the new name which Mr. Hay had found for his stable-valet) stood on the shore holding his charge with a halter of twisted grasses. The captain was surprised, but agreed to take them aboard, provided the horse could swim to the vessel, which could not get in: so Mr. Hay, with Bowes on his back, promptly took to the water, and was hoisted aboard in a sling from the davits.

"That's a very remarkable animal!" said the Greek captain to Bowes. His dialect was atrocious. Bowes could not understand a word; but signs did just as well.

Mr. Andrew P. Hay had decided to go to London. He knew a fair amount of English; for several years before a box from a wrecked vessel had been cast ashore on the island, and it had happened to contain some useful books and papers—a text of Homer, interlined with Mr. Gladstone's translation into English, several Greek-English primers, a Liddell and Scott's lexicon, some Ollendorffs, a Lindley Murray, Webster's American Dictionary, several issues of the Times, and a rhyming dictionary. Thus had A. P. Hay been enabled to learn the English language.

The journey to England was full of unpleasantness. There were difficulties, too, about meals; the Centaur having conceived a growing distaste for hay and beans. The coaster had landed them at Otranto, where Bowes promptly engaged a private stable for his master. But now occurred the first difficulty—they had no money. The captain of the coaster had yet to be paid.

But Bowes contrived to obtain, on credit, a suit of clothes in place of his tunic of woven grasses.

"There's only one way out of this, sir," said Bowes, after a spell of thought; "I shall have to sell you!"

"I fail to catch your meaning," said Mr. Hay, loftily pawing the ground. "Sell me?"

"That's it, sir; that's the only plan I can back for a place. You ought to fetch a good round sum, sir. Why, sir, look at you—there you stand, 17.1, deep in the girth, lovely clean houghs and pasterns, sir—look at 'em yourself if you ain't satisfied—sound wind, well planted, born flier, grand action. Look at your pedigree, that's enough! No vice—lady could hunt you, sir—oh, I'm not saying it to flatter you, sir! As for selling you—don't you see," said Bowes, placing his finger to his nose, "that's just a bit of practice, that's all. We shall have to sharp 'em. Let me alone to see to that."

"Well, Bowes," said the master, "I have every confidence in you, although I do not quite grasp your plan. I must only request that you will do no act calculated to lessen our self-respect or——"

"Get us warned off the course?" said Bowes. "Oh, that'll be all square."

"But you forget that no one will buy me without seeing my head! If I show that, all is lost!"

Bowes merely winked, and went out. Otranto was a most unpromising place for selling a fine horse; but Bowes made inquiries, and discovered that a rich Englishman, much given to horses—a gentleman-jockey—whose yacht was cruising in those parts, happened to be in the town. So Bowes fetched out Mr. Hay, mounted him, and caracoled him all over the place where a horse could manage to go; and presently he caught the eye of the gentleman-jockey. The latter had never seen such a picture of a horse in his life, and yearned to own Mr. Hay.

Bowes explained that he wasn't for sale; that, in fact, he was half sold already to an American millionaire. (Bowes had picked up a considerable smattering of English from his master, you see.)

"Look here," said the gentleman-jockey, "I must have him. On his back I could win every steeplechase in the kingdom. I'll give you £1,000 for him."

"Down?" said Bowes.

"Yes," replied the other. "I'll put off to my yacht and fetch it."

In an hour the £1,000 in gold and Italian paper was in Bowes's possession. Bowes had explained how it would be unwise to unwrap Mr. Hay's head and neck then, as a cold wind was blowing, and the horse had caught a slight cold on his voyage. The jockey was so overcome by the magnificence of the visible parts of Mr. Hay, and so convinced of the wonderful bargain he had made, that he was content to take the head and neck for granted rather than let him go to the American millionaire; so Mr. Hay was put back in the stable for the night, and one of the yacht's crew left there to see to his safety.

Shortly after dark Bowes picked the lock[Pg 556] and crept in. Silently he placed a newly-acquired saddle on Mr. Hay's back.


"What now?" whispered Andrew P. Hay.

"We must be off at once and cover as many miles as we can before daylight," whispered Bowes.

"But," objected Mr. Hay, "this is immoral!"

All the refined morality of the ancient Centaurs welled up in him.

"Pooh!" whispered Bowes. "Meaning no offence, sir; but it's got to be done!"

At this moment the sailor woke and rose to see what was going on. Now, gentleman and man of honour as Mr. Hay was down to the waist, the instinct of battle and self-preservation in his equine portion instantly gained the ascendency in those moments when action was called for; and it was with feelings of the most unfeigned horror and regret that he felt himself backing toward the unhappy sailor and taking up a favourable position for an effective kick.

"Bowes!" he said, in an agony of apprehension. "Quick! Don't you see what I'm doing? For Heaven's sake give me a cut over the quarters! Here—pull my head up, so that I can't lash out!"

But it was too late; the equine nature situated in the hind-quarters had prevailed: there was an end of the sailor: Andrew P. Hay hid his face in his hands with a bitter sob, and suffered himself to be led out and mounted in silence.

"You won't mind my presumption in wearing spurs, sir?" he said, apologetically. "We might want 'em when you get tired."

Andrew P. Hay hardly heard the remark; his thoughts were absorbed by the regrettable incident of the sailor; at a touch of the spur he broke mechanically into a gallop, which he continued unbrokenly far into the night. Suddenly he pulled up.

"Bowes," he said, "I'm famishing ——. I must have a meal; I've eaten nothing since the day before yesterday!"

"All right, sir," replied Bowes, as he prepared to strap on a nose-bag filled with chaff and locust beans; "you shall have a bran-mash as soon as ever we reach——"

"Take away this stuff!" said Mr. Hay, impatiently. "Do you hear? I've taken a dislike to hay and beans and bran-mashes; they're undignified food for a gentleman to eat, and I've done with them. I want a biftek aux pommes frites!"

"Can't get it here, sir," said Bowes, touching his cap. "Oh; why, I've got some sandwiches and a bottle of Marsala in the bag. But, if I may make so bold, the beans would have more stay in 'em——"

"For the equine portion, no doubt. Confound my equine portion, Bowes! It's in disgrace; I'm disgusted with it, and I'll starve it!"

"Let's wait till we get home, sir, for that—if I might make bold to advise. It's just the hossey parts you require on the road."

"Hum! there's something in that," said Mr. Hay; "well, give me the disgusting nose-bag; and when I've finished the confounded beans I will have a sandwich and a glass of Marsala to remove the taste.... This Marsala is a coarse wine, Bowes; was this the best thing you could get?"

[Pg 557]

They set off again at a gallop; and Mr. Hay soon perceived the wisdom of having temporarily refreshed his horse-part. But his aversion of, and anger against, it grew steadily. As he galloped he continued to brood upon the unjustifiable deed it had so lately committed; and he speculated with an oppressing anxiety on the acts it might commit in the future; realizing, as he did, that he had no control over that portion of him.

In spite of mountains, and the necessity for occasional rest, they reached Naples in two days. Here Bowes, having changed to a new and horsey suit of clothes, and provided Mr. Hay with new and handsome horse-clothing (so that they were unrecognisable), engaged a horse-box to Calais.

No mere horse could have covered the distance in the time; so they had eluded pursuit.

They reached London at last, and Bowes took a secluded villa, with stable, in St. John's Wood. The stable was merely a necessary artifice. With a sigh of relief Andrew P. Hay threw himself down on the hearthrug in the drawing-room; but the bitterness of association with that hateful horse-part was always with him. His dislike of it had grown to a positive loathing. His conduct when that part of him was in question was really most unreasonable. He would snatch up Bowes's riding-whip—the poker—anything, and belabour that horse-portion until it lashed out at the tables and chairs and smashed them to atoms. These scenes were most painful to Bowes.


Andrew P. Hay was possessed of remarkable aptitude, and, as the £1,000 so fraudulently acquired by Bowes was fast running out, it became necessary to cast about for employment. Now, his knowledge of the archaic Greek tongue, history, and antiquities, gained from direct tradition, was considerable; and he wrote to the authorities of the British Museum, the Society of Antiquaries, the Kernoozers' Club, and various other learned bodies, offering himself as correspondent and referee at a reasonable salary.

After some correspondence his services were eagerly accepted; and for a time all worked well. Dr. Schliemann considered him invaluable, and much light was thrown upon the question of early Greek inscriptions, and the true site of Troy, and of the Garden of the Hesperides; while much interesting tittle-tattle, from authentic sources, added to the knowledge of the private character and daily life of Ajax, Achilles, the Muses, Hercules, and others. All this had been communicated by letter; but one calamitous day a learned official from the British Museum called, and, before it could be prevented, had penetrated to the presence of Mr. Hay.

The meeting was most painful. Mr. Hay, attired in a loose morning coat and white waistcoat, was writing a paper on the differences between the Sapphic and Pindaric harps; while his equine part was fraying out the carpet with its hoofs and flicking away flies with its tail. Mr. Hay made a desperate effort to conceal the equine portion with the[Pg 558] tails of his coat, but in vain. The official was deeply shocked and pained.

"A—a—ahem! A Centaur, I believe?" he gasped.

Prevarication was useless. Andrew P. Hay bowed stiffly, and motioned the visitor to a chair.

"I—I must confess that I—er—hardly anticipated this—er ——. I was under the impression that we had been dealing with an ordinary human being if you'll excuse my saying so: but, forgive me—I fear the authorities to whom I am answerable will hardly approve of my obtaining information from a—er—a fabulous monster."

"A what, sir?" cried A. P. Hay: and he felt that equine part beginning to edge round for a kick, while his ears were lying back close to his head—the only equine idiosyncrasy of his human part; but one which distressed him greatly. He shouted for Bowes to catch hold of his head; he seized the poker and hammered at his flanks; but all in vain—those terrible hind-legs lashed out: and the official of the British Museum was no more.

It was a terrible affair: everything came out. Poor Mr. Hay was arrested and taken to Bow Street, where he was locked up in the green-yard stables.

The horse-part resisted violently, nearly killing three policemen, and attempting to gallop off; while Mr. Hay begged them to throw him and sit on his head, and subsequently apologized most sincerely.

The gaoler was very considerate, giving him his choice of oats or the usual fare.

The magistrate was greatly surprised; but, of course, sent the case for trial. At the trial, although the facts were clearly proved, the jury were divided, some bringing in a verdict of deliberate murder against Andrew Philip Hay; some considering him not guilty, but recommending the destruction of the horse-portion as a dangerous animal. The judge, animadverting in the severest terms on the conduct of the prisoner, declared that, although the jury had not been able to agree as to a verdict, society could not exonerate the perpetrator of such a deed; and exhorted the prisoner to reflect deeply upon his conduct, and make such atonement as remorse and contrition would suggest.

He then proceeded to comment upon the injudiciousness of the prisoner, who (although apparently guiltless of any desire to sacrifice human life) was, nevertheless, greatly to blame for his recklessness in keeping so dangerous an animal.

His Lordship asked whether prisoner would consent to have the animal destroyed. Prisoner was understood to reply that that was impossible for physical reasons which none could regret more deeply than himself.

Great excitement was created at this point by prisoner kicking out the back and sides of the dock, and hurling the usher into the gallery; prisoner, however, having apologized and expressed his belief that the incident had been occasioned by a horsefly, the matter was allowed to drop.


The judge, having retired for an hour to consider his action in the matter, stated that he considered it his duty, while severely deploring the murderous proclivities of the prisoner and regretting that the disagreement of the jury prevented him passing the capital sentence, to exonerate the accused from any intention to permit the animal to do grievous bodily harm, and recommended the keeping of it under proper surveillance.

[Pg 559]

Prisoner having undertaken to lash his equine-part within an inch of its life, his lordship remarked that he could not sanction any proceedings involving cruelty to the lower animals. Prisoner was then discharged.

Andrew P. Hay was plunged in profound misery. The disgrace and exposure of the whole proceedings, the degradation of his self-respect, cast over him a hopeless gloom. For hours he sat on his haunches, his face hidden in his hands, while scalding tears trickled between his fingers: then he suddenly arose, and kicked the villa to fragments.

At length his calmness returned, and he sat down to think the thing out. The exposure had come—why should he not turn it to good account?

"Bowes!" he called. Poor Bowes dragged his bruised remains from among the ruined brickwork.

"Bowes, my pride has gone. I intend to make a fortune by lecturing all over the country about Greek antiquities, and my recent trial. Pack my portmanteau, and then go round and engage halls."

The lectures created a furore. The public did not care two straws about Greek antiquities; but they crushed to hear a real live Centaur lecture about a murder case. At the end of a year he had amassed wealth B.D.A.

Andrew Philip, Lord Hippstable, Baron Hay, is now one of the best known and most highly respected—er—men in society. He was lately presented with a massive service of plate by the Meltonshire Hunt, in acknowledgment of his valued services as master of the hounds; he is the most famous steeplechase—ah—rider of the day; and the last five Derby winners have hailed from his stable—in fact, he entered for one Derby himself, but was disqualified on purely technical grounds; and there is some talk in well-informed circles of his probable succession to the posts of President of the Jockey Club and Equerry to the Prince of Wales.

J. F. Sullivan.

[Pg 560]

Off to the Station

Hulloa! Who's this running?

To the Trains

Confound you Sir 10 minutes to wait!


Transcriber's Notes:

Simple spelling, grammar, and typographical errors were silently corrected.

Anachronistic and non-standard spellings retained as printed.

Title page and table of contents added by transcriber.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Strand Magazine, Volume VII, Issue
41, May, 1894, by Various


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